This excerpt taken from the DIN 8-K filed Jan 31, 2006.
Julia Stewart Strategy Overview and Alternatives Discussion
Thanks, Tom. I hope you all have found todays discussion helpful.
As you can tell, we have a high degree of confidence in meeting our earning guidance of $2.35 [dollars/cents] to $2.45 [dollars/cents], excluding option expense, as well as our cash flow targets for 2006.
We have several positive sales catalysts working in our favor this year, our restaurant pipeline is strong and we are committed to doing all we can to improve on our execution, drive same-store sales, satisfy our guests and build loyalty. At the same time, management and the Board will also continue to be thoughtful about identifying ways of creating and delivering value for shareholders, including consideration of alternative ways of returning value in the form of repurchases and dividends and, of course, balancing those returns of capital with investments in growth.
We have established an excellent track record of returns to shareholders, most recently, in the fourth quarter 2005, through the repurchase of approximately 451,000 shares at an average price of $46.61 [dollars/cents]. This now brings total returns to shareholders in excess of $216 million [dollars] achieved through share repurchase and dividend payments over the past three years. We have been disciplined in maximizing shareholder value to date, and we will apply this same discipline to this process of evaluating alternative ways to create long-term value for our shareholders.
As I have noted previously we recognize that there are limits on growth over the long-term for our current concept. While we are working to continually energize the brand to take it as far as possible we also intend to seek opportunities to leverage our restaurant franchising competencies for growth, including potentially significant investments in, or acquisitions of, other non-competitive concepts where we can do so at a reasonable price.
So, with that, let me close by saying that I am optimistic about the year ahead, and while we have work to do I believe we are in a good position to meet our expectations.
Tom and I will now be happy to take your questions. Operator ?