Burger King sales sink, but profits soar

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Burger King says its first-quarter earnings more than doubled even though revenue fell, as the fast-food chain trimmed several restaurant-related expenses.

The Miami-based company had warned earlier this month that sales at established restaurants were expected to fall during the quarter, and they wound up declining 1.4 percent. That includes a 3 percent drop in the United States and Canada.

Burger King earned $35.8 million, or 10 cents per share, in the quarter that ended March 31. That's up from $14.3 million, or 4 cents per share, the previous year.

"We delivered strong earnings per share growth of 49 percent in the first quarter of 2013 in spite of a challenging economic and competitive environment that resulted in negative comparable sales growth of 1.4 percent globally," said CEO Bernardo Hees in a statement. "In addition, we announced the increase of our dividend by 20 percent and initiated a $200 million share repurchase program, demonstrating our positive outlook for the long-term prospects of the business and commitment to returning cash to shareholders."

The company previously said adjusted earnings totaled 17 cents per share.

Revenue fell about 42 percent to $327.7 million. Analysts expected $305.8 million.