• Half-year profits fall 17% at Restaurant Brands

AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Restaurant Brands, operator of Pizza Hut, KFC and Starbucks stores in New Zealand and Australia, reported $5 million (U.S. $2.74 million) in half-year profits (to Sept. 9, 2002), a drop of 17.5 percent compared to the same period last year.

According to the New Zealand Herald, the company blamed the fall on expansion-related costs. In March it spent $14 million (U.S. $7.67 million) buying 51 Pizza Hut outlets in Victoria, Australia.

The company's New Zealand operations posted a 6 percent profit increase compared to last year's performance.

Restaurant Brands chief executive Jim Collier said he expects stronger performance from all its operations in the second half of fiscal 2002.

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