Yum Brands Earnings Beat Expectations, As Growth In China Continues to Explode

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Yum Brands, the owner of fast food chains including Taco Bell and KFC, reported fourth quarter results of $0.75 per share, topping analyst estimates by a penny.Revenues surged 20 per cent year-on-year during the quarter to $4.1 billion, as same-store sales accelerated 21 per cent in China.

The company added 656 new storefronts in the Pacific nation during all of 2011, as it turned towards high growth markets overseas. Comparable sales declined 1 per cent in the U.S over the year, but grew during the fourth quarter.

“Clearly, our KFC and Pizza Hut brands in China continued to strengthen their category-leading positions,” Yum CEO David Novak said.¬†“At the same time, Yum! Restaurants International opened 905 new units, including 622 in high-growth emerging markets. We are on the ground floor of growth in India, Russia and Africa, where system sales grew at strong double-digit rates.”

Global operating margins declined 110 basis points during the fourth quarter, to 14.3 per cent, as increasing commodity costs pressured profits.

Shares are up two per cent in after hours trading.

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