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Meritage Hospitality Reports Preliminary 2013 Fiscal Results; Issues 2014 Outlook: Earnings Growth

GRAND RAPIDS, MI -- (Marketwired) -- 02/12/14 -- Meritage Hospitality Group Inc. (OTCQX: MHGU), one of the nation's premier restaurant operators, today reported preliminary financial results for the 2013 fiscal year ended December 30, 2013.

2013 Full-Year Highlights

  • Sales increased 39.2% to $137.8 million (a new record high for the Company), compared to $99.0 million last year.
  • Income Before Taxes increased 108% to $4.3 million compared to $2.1 million last year.
  • Net Income was $3.1 million compared to $2.9 million last year (last year included non-recurring income tax benefits of $1.6 million).
  • Consolidated EBITDA (a non-GAAP measure) increased 58.0% to $8.4 million, compared to $5.3 million last year.
  • The Company developed or acquired seven additional restaurants during the year, finishing 2013 with 119 restaurants in operation.
  • The Company declared its 45th consecutive quarterly dividend on its Series B Cumulative Convertible Preferred stock and doubled its Common Share cash distributions in 2013.

"In 2013 we made tremendous progress integrating newly acquired restaurants and expanding our Wendy's market presence in Florida, Georgia and Virginia. Complementing our acquisition strategy, we are building new Wendy's "Image Activation" restaurants and launching an extensive Wendy's restaurant renovation program. Our quality of earnings improved significantly in 2013, as highlighted by our Income Before Taxes growth rate of 108%," stated Robert E Schermer, Jr., CEO.

"As we look to 2014 (beyond any short-term impact of an unusual mid-west winter), we expect that our financial flexibility and increasing cash flow will enable us to fund strong organic growth initiatives and return capital to shareholders. We see a strengthening of the overall health of our business with Net Income growth projected in the range of 50% to 55% in 2014," added Schermer.

Fourth Quarter 2013 Highlights

  • Sales increased 40.4% to $35.1 million compared to $25.0 million in 2012.
  • Net Income was $617,000 compared to $707,000 in the fourth quarter of 2012.
  • Consolidated EBITDA (a non-GAAP measure) increased 25.8% to $1.5 million compared to $1.2 million in the same period last year.

2014 Outlook: Growth is Imperative
The Company's 2014 operating targets include the following financial expectations:

  • Sales growth of 10% to 15%
  • Income Before Taxes growth of 55% to 60%
  • Net Income growth of 50% to 55%
  • EBITDA growth (a non-GAAP measure) of 30% to 35%

Our 2014 financial targets assume the development of new Wendy's restaurants, the re-imaging of Wendy's restaurants, and the exclusive catering rights to a new convention center located next to our Freighters Restaurant on the St. Clair River in Port Huron, Michigan.

The focus of our growth strategy continues to be investment in restaurant opportunities where we can leverage our web-based operating platform for efficiencies, providing the opportunity for continued intrinsic business value creation and cash distributions to shareholders.

About Meritage
Meritage is one of the nation's premier restaurant operators, currently managing 119 quick service and casual dining restaurants. The Company specializes in the acquisition, development and operation of quick service and casual dining restaurant properties. The Company is headquartered in Grand Rapids and employs a growing workforce of approximately 3,800. The Company seeks new restaurant acquisition and development opportunities to capitalize on its web-based operating platform and substantial restaurant operating expertise. The Company's public filings can be viewed at www.otcqx.com, under the stock symbol MHGU, or the Company's website www.meritagehospitality.com.

Certain information in this news release, particularly information regarding future economic performance and finances, and plans, expectations and objectives of management, constitutes forward-looking statements. Factors set forth in our Safe Harbor Statement, in addition to other possible factors not listed, could affect the Company's actual results and cause such results to differ materially from those expressed in forward-looking statements. Please review the Company's Safe Harbor Statement at www.meritagehospitality.com.

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