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Jan 23, 2019

Tim Hortons' parent jumps as new CEO takes reins, dividend rises

Surprising sales growth at Tim Hortons pushes stock higher

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Restaurant Brands International Inc. (QSR.TO) surged in early trading after the company named a new chief executive officer and reported accelerating same-store sales at Burger King and Tim Hortons.

Jose Cil will assume the top post from Daniel Schwartz, who becomes executive chairman and co-chairman of the board. Cil has 18 years of experience at Burger King, Restaurant Brands said in a statement Wednesday.

Comparable sales -- a key performance gauge for restaurants and retailers -- rose 1.9 per cent globally in the fourth quarter at Tim Hortons, the company’s coffee and doughnut chain, an improvement from the previous period. Burger King’s global comparable-sales growth also climbed at a faster pace.

Burger King, like its main rival McDonald’s Corp., is fighting to maintain its momentum in the competitive U.S. market, where delivery options and promotions are making it tough to lock in fickle consumers. Same-store sales in the third quarter at Burger King and Tim Hortons missed analysts’ estimates.

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Restaurant Brands shares jumped as much as 9.3 per cent to US$62.31 in early trading Wednesday. The stock has climbed 9 per cent this year through yesterday’s close, following a 15 per cent decline last year.

Restaurant Brands raised its quarterly dividend by 5 cents to 50 cents a share, payable in April to shareholders of record as of March 15. The company said it’s has a US$2-a-share dividend target for 2019, compared with US$1.80 last year.