Panera Bread Surges After Forecast Tops Estimates

Friday, 11 Feb 2011 12:39 AM

 

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Panera Bread Co., a soup and salad restaurant chain, rose to a record in Nasdaq trading after it raised its full-year profit forecast and reported fourth-quarter profit that surpassed analysts’ projections.

Panera surged $15.09, or 15 percent, to $114.80 at 11:24 a.m. New York time, after reaching $115.75. The shares gained 38 percent during the past 12 months before today, compared with a 24 percent increase for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Profit for 2011 will increase to as much as $4.45 a share, up from a previous projection of as much as $4.35, the St. Louis, Missouri-based company said yesterday in a statement. Analysts predicted $4.40, the average of 18 estimates.

Net income in the fourth quarter climbed 23 percent to $36.5 million, or $1.21 a share, from $29.7 million, or 95 cents, a year earlier. Profit beat the $1.18 average of 16 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Revenue rose 17 percent to $428 million as customer traffic increased, Chief Executive Officer William Moreton said on a conference call today.

The company operates about 1,450 bakery-cafes under the Panera Bread, Saint Louis Bread Co. and Paradise Bakery & Café names.

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