Yum Brands Posts 30 Percent 4th-qtr Profit Rise

Published February 6, 2012 10:45PM (EST)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Yum Brands Inc., owner of the Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC fast-food chains, said Monday that its fourth-quarter profit rose 30 percent from a combination of strong overseas growth and a sales turnaround at Pizza Hut in the U.S.

Yum added 656 restaurants in China and 905 in the rest of its international markets in 2011. The company expects to maintain that growth in 2012, opening 1,500 new restaurants overseas, including about 600 in China.

In the U.S., Pizza Hut's revenue from restaurants open at least a year rose 6 percent.

But the figure fell 2 percent at Taco Bell, which had another sluggish quarter in the U.S. The Mexican-style chain is still struggling to regain momentum after being stung by publicity last year from a now-dropped lawsuit that questioned the beef content of its taco and burrito filling.

At KFC, comparable sales fell 1 percent from a year earlier.

Yum, based in Louisville, Ky., earned $356 million, or 75 cents per share, for the quarter. That's compared with $274 million, or 56 cents per share, a year earlier. Its revenue rose 15 percent to $4.1 billion.

Analysts expected profit of 74 cents per share on revenue of $4.04 billion.

The shares rose $1.58, or 2.5 percent, to $64.77 after hours following the earnings report. They had ended regular trading down 65 cents at $63.19.

Outside China, Yum's profit benefited from the quarter being a week longer than it was last year. But its operating profit in China rose 15 percent, adjusted for currency fluctuations. In the international division, which excludes China, the compan'ys operating profit rose 12 percent, adjusted for currency fluctuations. And, in the U.S., operating profit rose 10 percent.

Yum operates more than 37,000 restaurants in more than 110 countries and territories. The company recently sold its Long John Silver's and A&W All-American Restaurants brands.

By Salon Staff

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