Pizza Hut Loving the Chinese Market

Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) will open at least 150 new Pizza Hut restaurants this year in China as part of an overseas expansion plans, according to a China Daily report.

Yum! Brands plans to invest more than 700 million yuan ($111.2 million) in opening a minimum of 150 stores in third- or fourth-tier Chinese cities this year, according to Peter Kao, brand general manager of Pizza Hut and Pizza Hut Delivery of Yum! China, the report said.

The Louisville-based Yum! Brands opened its first store — a KFC restaurant — in China in 1987. The company now has more than 4,400 restaurants throughout China, including KFCs, Pizza Huts, Taco Bells, East Dawnings, and Little Sheep.

Yum! Brands said the 30 percent year-over-year increase it saw in the fourth-quarter revenue was due to global growth and rising sales in its China stores. The company’s net income rose to $356 million, or 75 cents a share, from $274 million, or 56 cents, a year earlier..

Yum! Brands, which has more than 36,000 restaurants in more than 117 countries and regions, reported that fourth-quarter sales at stores open at least a year were up by 21 percent in China. The company, which opened a record 656 stores in the country last year, gets more than 40 percent of its revenue from China.

Here’s how shares of YUM are reacting to the news:

Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM): YUM shares recently traded at $64.93, up $0.49, or 0.76%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $47.15 to $65.79. Volume today was 6,144,070 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 3,527,100 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 25.49, while trailing earnings are $2.55 per share.

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