Yum Brands To Drive Growth Post Separation From China Business

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Post separation from its China unit, Yum Brands Inc, owner of Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell, said it expects to return as much as $13.5 billion to shareholders by 2019. Yum Brands’ shares were up 1.2 per cent at $88.45 before the bell on Tuesday.

Key growth areas

As a ‘pure play’ franchisor, the transformed Yum! Brands will become more efficient and capital light with an optimized capital structure, improved cash flow and laser-like focus on our key strategies to drive same-store sales and new unit growth worldwide,” Chief Executive Greg Creed said in a statement.

The company is expecting to increase franchise restaurant ownership to 93 per cent, from 77 per cent now, when the China business is spun off on Oct. 31. The company aims to be least 98 percent franchised by the end of 2018.
Yum said it had bought back $5.2 billion of shares as a part of its previously announced capital return program of $6.2 billion, reducing its share count by about 16 per cent. The company also said it would reduce capital expenditure to about $100 million in 2019, from about $500 million in 2015.

Yum last week reported its first same-store sales drop in five quarters in China, blaming anti-U.S. protests after an international court rejected China’s claim to historic rights in the South China Sea.

Yum’s China business will begin trading on Nov. 1 on the New York Stock Exchange with the ticker symbol YUMC.

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