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Bloomin' Brands 4Q profit more than triples

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Bloomin' Brands, owner of the Outback Steakhouse and Bonefish Grill restaurant chains, said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter net income more than tripled as it benefited from a large gain tied to the acquisition of a controlling stake in its Brazilian operations.

The company's adjusted profit beat analysts' estimates. Its shares rose more than 12 percent in morning trading.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, Bloomin' Brands Inc. earned $59 million, or 46 cents per share. That's up from $18.4 million, or 15 cents per share, a year earlier.

The current quarter included a $36.6 million gain related to the Brazilian transaction.

Taking out this gain and other items, earnings were 27 cents per share.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 26 cents per share.

Bloomin' Brands' stock rose $2.77, or 12.1 percent, to $25.73. The shares are up 26 percent in the past year.

Quarterly revenue increased to $1.05 billion from $998.4 million, helped in part by the opening of some new restaurants and a rise in a key sales barometer. The performance met Wall Street's expectations.

Sales at company-owned domestic restaurants open 18 months or more climbed 1.4 percent as traffic edged up 0.3 percent and menu prices rose.

This figure is a key gauge of a restaurant operator's health because it excludes results from locations recently opened or closed.

The biggest gain came at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, which reported a 4.9 percent increase in the metric. Outback Steakhouse posted a 1.1 percent rise, while Carrabba's Italian Grill and Bonefish Grill both edged up 0.9 percent.

Full-year net income more than quadrupled to $208.4 million, or $1.63 per share, from $50 million, or 44 cents per share, in the prior year.

Adjusted earnings were $1.11 per share.

Annual revenue rose 4 percent to $4.13 billion from $3.99 billion.

Sales at company-owned domestic restaurants open 18 months or more climbed 1.2 percent, with traffic up 1.1 percent.

Bloomin' Brands said that it shifted to 52-53 week fiscal year, from reporting as a calendar year. Based on this change, the company anticipates 2014 adjusted earnings of at least $1.21 per share and revenue of at least $4.4 billion.

Analysts expect earnings of $1.28 per share on revenue of $4.52 billion.

Bloomin' Brands owns and runs more than 1,500 restaurants in 48 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and 21 countries. Some are run under a franchise agreement.