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LOUISVILLE, KY-Strong sales at existing stores and higher franchise royalties helped second-quarter profits spike 40% at pizza chain Papa John’s International Inc., prompting the company to raise its full-year guidance. The results reflected 19 consecutive months of positive comparable store sales for the firm’s US operations, the company said.

The chain, which operates 2,960 Papa John’s restaurants, posted net income of $13.3 million, or 46 cents a share, for the quarter ending June 25, 2006 compared to $10.9 million, or 32 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. The results included a $4-million gain from the consolidation of a franchise-owned cheese purchasing company. The company said it expects full-year earnings to range from $1.42 per share to $1.46 per share, higher than previous forecast of $1.40 per share to $1.46 per share made earlier this year.

Helping to boost future returns will be the recent $18.4 million acquisition of 43 franchised restaurants in the Phoenix and Flagstaff, AZ areas. An additional four to six restaurants are planned for that market in the next two to three years, the company said.

During the quarter, Papa John’s also added 28 restaurants to its international lineup for a total of 83 foreign franchised locations. The firm currently has contractual agreements to open an additional 407 restaurants in the next eight years in Korea and China, the company’s fastest growing markets. Another 100 stores are planned for India with a total of 825 restaurants expected to open in international markets within the next 10 years, the company said.

In Mexico, Papa John’s terminated a master franchise agreement, closing a total of 34 franchised restaurants in that country. The company said despite that termination, it remains committed to the Mexican market and currently plans to open between 20 and 25 restaurants in Mexico City in addition to three locations it recently acquired. The company said it also is actively negotiating with potential franchise owners to open restaurants elsewhere in Mexico.

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