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Restaurant Brand affirms annual earnings guidance

Restaurant Brand affirms annual earnings guidance, on look-out for US director

By Paul McBeth

June 21 (BusinessDesk) - Restaurant Brands New Zealand, which operates the local KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks Coffee and Carl's Jr brands, affirmed guidance for annual earnings to rise 10 percent and said it's looking for a US director as it scouts out new opportunities in mainland America.

Chair Ted van Arkel, who will step down next year, told shareholders in Wellington the company expects to deliver an annual profit of $43 million-to-$45 million in the 2019 financial year, largely in line with the April forecast for profit to be at least 10 percent higher than the $40.4 million reported in 2018.

"Whilst the new financial year has started satisfactorily, it is very early in the year and your directors are concerned not to create unrealistic expectations as to final outcomes," he said in speech notes lodged with the stock exchange. "There are a number of initiatives underway that could impact upon our total brand portfolio and consequently full-year sales and profit result."

The Auckland-based company expanded its business to KFC in Australia and Taco Bell and Pizza Hut in Hawaii, with almost half its sales generated overseas last year, and has signalled an intention to expand to mainland US.

Van Arkel today said the Hawai'i beachhead and plan to tap the wider US meant the company needs an American-based director, something it expects to do in the next few months. Van Arkel said he will stand down once the board has introduced "new blood" over the next year.

Restaurant Brands will pay a fully imputed final dividend of 18 cents per share tomorrow, and van Arkel said New Zealand tax residents should be able to receive fully imputed dividends for "some years to come" despite the growing diversification of earnings from other regions.

The shares fell 1.8 percent to $7.86, having gained 13 percent so far this year.

(BusinessDesk)

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