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Burger King beats forecasts as McDonald's drops Heinz

Burger KingWarren BuffettHJ Heinz CompanyBerkshire Hathaway Inc.McDonald'sOak Brook

Burger King stock was on the upswing Monday after the fast-food company said its profit surged nearly 33% in the third quarter, beating predictions from Wall Street.

The Miami-based company said its adjusted net income soared to $81.1 million, or 23 cents a share, from $61.1 million, or 17 cents a share, during the same period a year earlier.

Revenue at the chain, which last month unveiled its Satisfries line of lower-fat French fries, tanked 40% to $275.1 million but still exceeded estimates.

Burger King shaved down its costs amid a refranchising push, causing operating expenses to slide 64%.

Same-store sales at restaurants open at least a year were up 0.9% globally but dipped 0.3% in North America. The company, which has nearly 13,300 stores, attributed the weakness to “continued softness in consumer spending and ongoing competitive headwinds.”

Still, in late morning trading in New York, Burger King stock was up more than 4%, or 84 cents, to $20.60 a share.

Rival McDonald’s was up too, rising less than a percentage point, or 48 cents, to $95.26 a share.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based quick-serve behemoth confirmed this week that it is ditching its multi-decade arrangement with H.J. Heinz Co. to serve its ketchup.

The rationale: Heinz is now run by Bernardo Hees, current vice chairman and former chief executive of Burger King.

Besides, it’s been years since Heinz ketchup has been regularly used in most McDonald’s stores.

“As a result of recent management changes at Heinz, we have decided to transition our business to other suppliers over time,” McDonald’s said in a statement.

Hees transitioned to the helm of Heinz earlier this year after the company was purchased by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway company and Burger King owner 3G Capital.

Last week, McDonald’s said it will transition to a new value menu called the Dollar Menu and More, featuring options priced from $1 to $5.

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Burger King launches low-fat French fries

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Burger KingWarren BuffettHJ Heinz CompanyBerkshire Hathaway Inc.McDonald'sOak Brook
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