Yum beats 1Q profit forecasts

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Yum Brands said Wednesday that its profit rose 8 percent in the first quarter as the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell saw sales improve in the embattled China unit it plans to spin off.

The Louisville, Kentucky company said sales rose 6 percent for established stores, a key industry metric, in China. The sales metric rose 12 percent for KFC but declined 12 percent for Pizza Hut, which has fewer restaurants.

The China unit has been hit by food scares and marketing missteps in recent years. In October, the company announced plans to spin off the business into a separate publicly traded company by the end of 2016.

The Taco Bell division, comprised primarily of U.S. stores, saw sales rise 1 percent at established locations.

That figure rose 3 percent for Pizza Hut globally (but excluding China) and 5 percent in the U.S.

KFC was up 1 percent globally, also excluding China, and up 1 percent in the U.S.

For the quarter ended March 19, Yum earned $391 million, or 93 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, came to 95 cents per share, topping the 83 cents analysts expected, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue was $2.62 billion in the period, which fell short of the $2.66 billion analysts expected.

Yum shares added $2.97, or 3.6 percent, to $85.50 in aftermarket trading. They have climbed 13 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has climbed roughly 3 percent.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on YUM at http://www.zacks.com/ap/YUM

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Keywords: Yum Brands, Earnings Report, Priority Earnings