Pizza Company expanding into Middle East market

July 6, 2003

BANGKOK, Thailand -- Pizza Company, considering expansion into the Middle East, Vietnam and China, will open its first franchised store in Kuwait next month and expects to open up to nine more by the end of the year.

According to a news report in The Nation, the company, one of Thailand's leading pizza chains, will invest Bt 300 million, ($7.2 million U.S.) on international development this year.

"Kuwait approached us first," said William Heinecke, chairman of The Minor Food Group Plc, which owns Pizza Company.

He said the company expects to benefit from anti-American sentiment in the Middle East as Kuwaiti companies are seeking an Asian brand to compete with Pizza Hut and Little Caesars, which dominate the market there.

Pizza Company, which will also set up franchises in Bahrain, expects to open its first China store by the end of the year, but declined to identify a location.

The three-year-old company maintains it controls 60 percent to 70 percent of the growing Thai pizza market.

"We will open another 19 franchised stores in Thailand, bringing the total number to 135 by the end of this year," Heinecke said.

The company's target for international revenue is Bt 125 million ($3 million U.S.) this year, the newspaper reported.

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