US-based fastfood company Wendy’s International has reported higher fourth-quarter and full-year profit despite challenging market conditions.

The company posted net income of US$64.7m for the fourth quarter to 28 December, compared with $50.7m in the year-ago period. Total fourth-quarter revenues increased 21.2% to a record $862.4m.

For the full year, Wendy’s posted net income of $236.0m, compared to $218.8m in the previous year. Total revenues for the full year increased 15.3% to $3.1bn. Of that, Wendy’s contributed $2.2bn, Tim Hortons contributed $807m and Baja Fresh $151m.

“We delivered our best fourth quarter in the history of the company as both Wendy’s and Tim Hortons produced excellent sales, we achieved our new store opening plans and our employees continued to effectively control costs,” said CEO Jack Schuessler.

The company said it was particularly pleased with the progress at Tim Hortons in the US, where same-store sales were up more than 7% in the quarter.

During 2003, the company and its franchisees opened 597 new restaurants systemwide, including 312 Wendy’s restaurants, 211 Tim Hortons outlets and 74 Baja Fresh restaurants.

“We are pleased with the company’s overall performance in a challenging year,” said Schuessler.

“We executed our strategic plan, produced strong revenue growth, met our new restaurant development goals and delivered an 8.5% increase in EPS. The results were especially good considering severe winter weather and competitive discounting in the early part of 2003, higher-than-expected beef costs and a higher corporate tax rate,” he added.