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Papa John's International Inc. has released its 2012 operating assumptions and earnings guidance, and announced an increase in its 2011 earnings per share range to $2.15 to $2.20.

The company projects 2012 earnings per share in the range of $2.33 to $2.43, including an ($0.11) impact of a one-time marketing incentive contribution largely offset by a 53rd week of operations in 2012.

"Our brand continues to perform very well in the marketplace as the Papa John's team executes against our long-term growth plan," said John Schnatter, Papa John's founder, chairman and CEO. "The plan has delivered better than expected results in 2011, and we look forward to continued strong performance in 2012."

Highlights from the report include a projected 2012 North America system-wide comparable sales increase ranging from 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent. Company-owned and franchised restaurants are expected to produce relatively consistent comparable sales. The company expects national marketing spending in 2012 to approximate 2011 spend levels.

The projected 2012 international comparable sales increase range from 1.5 percent to 3.5 percent. International comparable sales can be negatively impacted in a substantial number of emerging markets where second year sales for any given restaurant are compared against an unusually high "grand opening" level of first year sales. International comparable sales can also be positively or negatively impacted by significant levels of currency inflation or deflation within a given country.

Total sales growth for international restaurants, including the 53rd week of operations, is expected to range from 20 percent to 25 percent in 2012, due to new unit growth and the expected comparable sales increase.

Projected 2012 worldwide net unit openings range from 240 to 280 (110 to 130 net openings for North America and 130 to 150 net openings for International). This represents approximately 4 percent unit growth for North America and 17 percent unit growth for International in 2012.

The majority of worldwide net unit growth is expected to be franchised, driven by development incentives and franchisee financing initiatives.

Finally, the company raised its diluted earnings per share guidance for 2011 to a range of $2.15 to $2.20, from the previous range of $2.08 to $2.15.

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