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Westlife to Combine Units Including India McDonald’s Franchisee

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Dec. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Westlife Development Ltd., an Indian real estate developer, plans to combine some of its group companies and make the local franchisee of McDonald’s Corp. a direct unit as part of a revamp, it said in a statement today.

Westlife will consolidate Westpoint Leisureparks Pvt. and Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt., which operates 148 McDonald’s outlets in western and southern India. The listed parent will gain access to capital and accelerate growth, Amit Jatia, vice chairman of Westlife, said in a telephone interview.

“This opens up opportunities for investors in the Indian market to be able to invest in the growth of McDonald’s franchise business in India,” Jatia said, without revealing terms of the merger. The process may be completed in six to nine months, he said.

India, the world’s second-most populous nation, is important for McDonald’s as it expands sales overseas. As much as 68 percent of the company’s revenue came from outside the U.S. in the year ended December 2011. Hardcastle plans to add new McDonald’s outlets at the rate of about 25 percent each year and will have 260 by the end of 2014, Jatia said.

Westlife shares rose 2 percent to 86.20 rupees in Mumbai, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The stock has more than quadrupled this year, compared with a 26 percent gain in the benchmark BSE Ltd. Sensitive Index.

Connaught Plaza Restaurants Pvt., which operates McDonald’s stores in northern and eastern India, earlier this year announced plans to open the fast-food chain’s first vegetarian outlets. McDonald’s, based in Oak Brook, Illinois, will double its restaurants in India in four years, Connaught’s Managing Director Vikram Bakshi said in October.

To contact the reporter on this story: Malavika Sharma in New Delhi at msharma52@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Wong at swong139@bloomberg.net

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