Darden Restaurants Inc., owner of Olive Garden and Longhorn Steak House, reported an 11.8% increase in fourth-quarter net income and a stronger-than-expected fiscal 2024 outlook on Thursday, but its stock fell in premarket trades.

fourth-quarter profit increased to $315.1 million, or $2.58 a share, from $281.7 million, or $2.24 a share, in the year-ago quarter.

The company beat the Wall Street profit forecast of $2.54 a share, according to analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Fourth-quarter revenue moved up to $2.77 billion from $2.6 billion and matched analysts’ forecasts.

“We had a solid quarter to conclude a strong year in which we met or exceeded our financial outlook, despite a tough operating environment,” said Darden president and CEO Rick Cardenas.

Looking ahead, Darden said it expects adjusted fiscal 2024 profit of $8.55 to $8.85 a share, above the analysts’ estimates of $7.96 a share.

Darden also projected fiscal 2024 revenue of $11.5 billion to $11.6 billion, ahead of the Wall Street view of $11.17 billion.

The restaurant owner boosted its quarterly dividend by 8% to $1.31 a share.

Darden stock is down 3.3%. Including Thursday’s moves, Darden’s share price has risen 16.3% in 2023, compared to a 13.5% rise by the S&P 500

The company completed its acquisition of Ruth’s Chris Steak House on June 14. The company said integration expenses related to the deal will impact earnings by 34 cents a share in 2024.

The company also said chairman and former CEO Eugene I. Lee Jr. will retire and will not stand for re-election at the company’s 2023 annual meeting.



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