CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Driven Brands Holdings Inc., operator and franchisor of multiple vehicle maintenance and repair businesses, reported a 35.3% gain in operating income for the year ended Dec. 26 on 50.6% higher sales, but the net result was a $4.22 million loss due primarily to higher interest expenses.
The Charlotte-based company, which went public in 2020, reported $94.7 million in operating income on revenue of $904.2 million, yielding a 10.5% operating ratio. Revenue from company-operated stores represented 54% of the firm's sales last year, with a measurable portion of the increase attributed to Driven Brand's purchase of International Car Wash Group.
Among the company's franchise brands are Meineke Car Care Centers, Take 5 Oil Change and 1-800-Radiator & A/C. Besides Meineke and Take 5, Driven Brands' properties include: Carstar Auto Body Repair; MAACO auto body; International Car Wash; and Merlin's 200,000 Mile Shops.
Systemwide sales for the company's various franchise brands were $3.35 billion, an increase of 16.3% versus the prior year, Driven Brands said, with 36% net store growth and a decline in same-store sales of 5.6%.
The maintenance segment — comprising Meineke and Take 5 Oil Change — recorded $962.7 million in sales, or 28.7% of the total. Take 5's network consists of 491 company-operated and 96 franchised locations, while there are 807 franchised Meineke locations.
Paint, collision and glass is the largest segment, at $1.94 billion, or 58% of the total.
Driven Brands President and CEO Jonathan Fitzpatrick said the firm's fourth quarter results — a near quadrupling of operating income on 58% higher revenue — "are a testament to the strength and diversity of the Driven Brands portfolio."
Mr. Fitzpatrick cited the ability of company's employees and franchisees to adapt to the "ever-changing needs" of the past year for helping deliver industry-leading results.
"Given our scale, the significant whitespace in this fragmented and needs-based industry and our robust cash generation, I am confident that we are well positioned for growth in 2021 and to maximize long-term value for all of our stakeholders."
In the fourth quarter, systemwide sales rose 24% to $935.1 million, based on 36% net store growth and a 3.4% drop in same-store sales. Revenue was $288.5 million, driven heavily by the acquisition of International Car Wash Group in the third quarter of 2020, which added 939 stores to the portfolio.
During the final three months of 2020, Driven Brands' franchise network grew by 42 net stores, based on 23 new stores in the maintenance segment, 13 in the car wash segment and six in the paint, collision and glass segment.
While same-store sales overall declined 3.4% during the quarter, they increased in maintenance and platform services segments, the company said. Same-store sales paint, collision and glass segment declined as roadways were less congested due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in fewer accidents and therefore fewer collision repairs.