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Fiesta Restaurant expects higher profit in 2013

ADDISON, Texas (AP) -- Fiesta Restaurant Group Inc. expects 2013 earnings of 72 cents per share or higher, the company said Thursday.

Fiesta, which owns, operates and franchises Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana restaurants, forecast that 2013 earnings will rise 20 percent or more from 2012's adjusted earnings of 60 cents per share.

The company said it will be helped by a lower annual estimated tax rate and a better outlook for cost of sales, which is expected to benefit from higher prices.

Fiesta is also forecasting for long-term earnings growth of more than 20 percent.

The company lowered its forecast for a 2013 Pollo Tropical revenue figure, citing recent pressures on the restaurant sector. Fiesta now expects 2013 revenue from Pollo Tropical locations open at least a year will be up 3 percent to 5 percent, down from previous guidance for a 5 percent to 6 percent rise.

At Taco Cabana, the company still expects 2013 revenue at locations open at least a year will rise 3 percent to 4 percent.

Fiesta Restaurant Group had 251 company-owned and operated restaurants and 43 franchised restaurants in the U.S., Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela as of Dec. 31. Its stock slipped 2 cents to $24.02 in morning trading.