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Ahead of the Bell: Cheesecake Factory

NEW YORK (AP) -- Cheesecake Factory shares may be under pressure Thursday following the restaurant chain's weaker-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter performance.

The company said late Wednesday that it earned $22.1 million, or 40 cents per share, for the period ended Jan. 1. That's down from $29.9 million, or 54 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding charges totaling 11 cents per share, earnings were 51 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected 52 cents per share.

Revenue fell 3 percent to $464.7 million from $477.7 million. There was one less week in the current quarter. Analysts expected higher revenue of $468.7 million.

Shares of Cheesecake Factory dropped in after-hours trading Wednesday.

The company also announced that it entered an exclusive licensing deal with restaurant operator Alsea SAB de CV to build and run some Cheesecake Factory restaurants in Latin America. Terms were not disclosed.

The agreement includes the development of at least 12 restaurants over an eight-year period in Mexico and Chile. There is the possibility to expand the deal to include Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Peru.

The first restaurant is expected to open in Mexico City by early fiscal 2014.

The move is part of Cheesecake Factory's plan to expand globally. The company opened some of its restaurants in the Middle East last year.

Cheesecake Factory Inc. runs 177 casual dining restaurants in the U.S., including 162 restaurants under The Cheesecake Factory name; 14 restaurants under the Grand Lux Cafe name and one restaurant under the RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen name. It has three The Cheesecake Factory restaurants operating under a licensing agreement. The company also runs two bakery production facilities in Calabasas Hills, Calif. and Rocky Mount, N.C.