Thai Beverage signs to buy KFC restaurants

Thai Beverage  (ThaiBev), the maker of Chang beer and SangSom rum, is expanding into the fast-food business with a deal to buy Thailand’s KFC restaurants.

ThaiBev’s agreement, covering more than 240 restaurants, is costing it about THB11.3 billion (US$340 million). It also covers stores under development, with the cost of those locations to be determined when the transaction closes.

KFC is owned by US corporation Yum! Brands, which also runs the Pizza Hut and Taco Bell chains.

ThaiBev chairman/founder Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi has been seeking to diversify the company with a goal of generating more revenue from non-alcoholic beverages by 2020.

Thailand accounted for 2 per cent of KFC’s sales in emerging markets last quarter, and was the only region in that division to have sales drop year-over-year, posting a 2 per cent decline.

Sirivadhanabhakdi previously expanded his property business amid government measures to curb alcohol consumption in Thailand. He was ultimately forced to list the company unit in Singapore in 2006 after activists and Buddhist monks held protests to block a local share sale. The company’s long-term strategy involves generating half of its revenue from markets outside Thailand and non-alcoholic beverage. Sales outside Thailand amounted to less than 4 per cent in the last fiscal year, according to Bloomberg.

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