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Meritage Reinstates Dividend Program Following Strong Financial Results

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Sept. 25, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Meritage Hospitality Group Inc. (OTCQX: MHGU), the nation’s premier franchise operator, today reported the reinstatement of its quarterly preferred dividends. The Company will resume payment of quarterly preferred stock dividends on October 1, 2020, to shareholders of record as of September 15, 2020.

Re-Establishing Quarterly Dividends

“Based on our confidence in the business, liquidity position and strong operating performance, we are reinstating our quarterly preferred dividends beginning October 1, 2020. We intend to maintain our disciplined and balanced approach to capital allocation, continuing our history of providing common shareholders with special dividend growth commensurate with earnings growth,” stated Robert E. Schermer, the Company’s CEO.   

In March, the Company took a number of pro-active measures to insulate its cash position and maintain financial flexibility in the face of government mandated shelter-in-place orders and restaurant dining room closures due to the onset of the COVID-19 crisis.

“The Wendy’s brand has once again proved resilient and demonstrated the ability to generate positive results in challenging times. Our geographically diverse business model, coupled with strong restaurant management teams who were able to react quickly and decisively, drove strong operating performance. The investments we have made over the past several years in people, technology, and building modernization has positioned Meritage to capitalize on drive-thru and digital opportunities as speed, convenience and affordability remain important to our guests,” added Schermer.

Second Quarter Financial Highlights

  • Sales increased 2.6% to $121.7 million compared to $118.7 million for the same period last year.
  • Earnings from Operations increased 68.2% to $10.7 million compared to $6.4 million for the same period last year.
  • Net Earnings increased 61.8% to $6.1 million compared to $3.8 million for the same period last year.
  • Consolidated EBITDA (a non-GAAP measure) increased 26.9% to $16.0 million compared to $12.6 million for the same period last year.

The Company has committed significant long term capital resources to Wendy’s brand initiatives, including an agreement to build 40 new Wendy’s restaurants by the end of 2024, under the Groundbreaking Incentive Program. Same store sales in newly built and re-imaged restaurants continue to deliver strong results as guests are rewarding us for the upgraded facilities and improved overall customer experience.

Company 2021 Full-Year Financial Outlook: Robust Growth Ahead

The Company is targeting robust earnings growth in 2021, driven by the breakfast daypart, new restaurant development, reimaged locations and restaurant acquisitions. As we navigate our way forward in the new restaurant industry normal, the Company will continue to reward common shareholders with special dividend growth commensurate with earnings growth.

Meritage continues to distinguish itself as a leader and innovator in the quick service and family restaurant segments, striving for best in class results through a performance based culture committed to operational excellence, strategic acquisitions and real estate development.

About the Company

Meritage Hospitality Group is the nation’s premier franchise operator, with 340 restaurants in operation located in Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Meritage is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, operating with a workforce of approximately 10,000 employees. The Company has approximately 9.4 million diluted weighted average common shares outstanding. The Company’s public filings can be viewed at www.otcmarkets.com, under the stock symbol MHGU, or the Company’s website www.meritagehospitality.com.

SAFE HARBOR STATEMENT
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 http://www.meritagehospitality.com.

CONTACT:
Robert E. Schermer, Jr., CEO
Meritage Hospitality Group Inc.
616-776-2600 ext. 1012

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