Monday, 10 December 2007

Pizza Hut/KFC Sells Up in Japan

Trading house Mitsubishi Corp. said Saturday that it successfully completed a friendly takeover of Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan Ltd., which owns more than 1,500 KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants around the country.

Mitsubishi, which already owned 31 percent of KFC Japan's shares, will pay ¥1,947 each for a further 7.62 million shares, the bulk of which are held by U.S.-based Kentucky Fried Chicken Corporate Holdings Ltd., it said in a statement.

The Tokyo-based trading company will hold nearly 65 percent of KFC Japan's voting shares as a result of the ¥14.83 billion transaction.

KFC Japan's board voted in favor of the tender offer, which was launched at the end of October and ran through Friday.

Mitsubishi said it plans to make the restaurant operator one of its subsidiaries.

Profit growth at KFC Japan has been sluggish because of intense competition in Japan's fast food market, rising material prices and hefty investments in systems operations.

In the year that ended Nov. 30, 2006, the company reported a net profit of ¥1.21 billion, up 8.9 percent from a year ago.

Tokyo-based KFC Japan operates 1,163 KFC restaurants and 357 Pizza Hut outlets across Japan. It employs about 1,100 people.

KFC Japan shares rose 2.08 percent Friday to finish at ¥1,960 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

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