THAILAND

 
Thai Beverage to enter fast food industry with acquisition of KFC outlets

Thai Beverage, Thailandís largest beverage giant, is expanding into the fast-food business with the purchase of more than 240 existing KFC restaurants in Thailand for about Bt 11.3 billion (US$340 million).
A deal is also in place for the company to take over stores that are being developed, with the cost of those locations to be determined when the transaction closes, according to a filing. KFC is operated by Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum! Brands Inc., which also runs the Taco Bell and Pizza Hut chains.
Billionaire Chairman Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, who founded the company, has been seeking to diversify ThaiBevís operations for years, with a goal of generating more revenue from non-alcoholic beverages by 2020.
For Thai Beverage, the KFC deal is a bid to seize on the popularity of chicken in Asia, according to Nirgunan Tiruchelvam, a Director at Religare Capital Markets in Singapore.
Thailand accounted for 2% of KFC sales in emerging markets last quarter. It was the only region in that division that saw sales drop year-over-year, posting a 2% decline.