LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Tricon Global Restaurants Inc. (NYSE:YUM), the parent company of Pizza Hut, on Feb. 11 reported strong fourth-quarter and year-end earnings that exceeded analyst expectations

For the fourth-quarter of fiscal year 2001 ending on Dec. 29, the global restaurant company reported net income of $164 million, a 28 percent increase over the previous year. Earnings per share were $1.08 for the quarter, beating analyst predictions of between $1.03 and $1.05.

The company?s year-end earnings were also strong. Tricon for the year reported net income of $492 million, up 19 percent over the previous year, when the company enjoyed net income of $413 million. Earnings per share for fiscal year 2001 were $3.24, up from $2.77 in 2000.

Tricon chairman and chief executive officer David Novak said the company achieved its earnings-per-share objectives for 2001, and predicted a stronger financial performance during the current fiscal year.

"I am even more pleased that we are moving into 2002 with wind behind our backs from a strong fourth-quarter performance," Novak said in a news release. "We are successfully executing our strategies of driving global expansion, improving restaurant operations, and leading the industry in multibrand innovation."

Tricon?s current estimate for fiscal year 2002 is earnings per share of between $3.56 and $3.63. Novak pointed to expanded international growth and multibranding in the United States market as key initiatives in 2002. The company added 309 multibranded stores last year, including 153 stores that combined Tricon-branded Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

"We believe that the multibranding concept is a key enabler for accelerating U.S. same-store sales growth, facilitating the remodeling of our U.S. restaurant system with solid returns, and expanding distribution into new trade areas," he said.

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