• Restaurant Brands NZ scoops up 51 Pizza Huts

AUCKLAND -- Restaurant Brands New Zealand Ltd, the country's largest fast-food operator, purchased 51 Pizza Hut stores for $12 million (NZ) March 19. The purchase raises Restaurant Brands' "red roof" total to about 135.

Eleven Pizza Hut stores will be purchased from receiver KPMG, and another 40 from franchisees.

According to Australian Financial Review, Restaurant Brands CEO, Jim Collier, called the debt-funded acquisition a low-risk investment in a foodservice category which he believes still holds strong growth potential.

"Australians still only spend one-third of their food expenditure on food cooked outside the home, compared with 50 percent for the U.S.," said Collier. "Australia may never get to the U.S. level, but we think there's long-term potential for the category to grow."

Collier ruled out any more store purchases in the near future, saying the company will first improve performance at its newest 51 stores. However, he did say the company is considering a public offering as a "vehicle for growth not available to other people in the industry."

Restaurant Brands also franchises KFC restaurants and Starbucks coffee shops.

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