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Famous Brands to Expand Africa Network by 55 Restaurants

May 27 (Bloomberg) -- Famous Brands Ltd., a South African fast-food chain owner, plans to open 55 outlets this year in African countries where it already operates as sales growth elsewhere on the continent beats the local market.

“Our brands are gaining traction in Africa,” Chief Executive Officer Kevin Hedderwick said in a telephone interview today. “There is significant promise” in the 15 African nations outside its home country where Famous Brands has restaurants including Steers burgers and Debonairs Pizza.

Sales on a like-for-like basis in the year to Feb. 28 jumped 28 percent in those markets, which now account for 7.3 percent of revenue, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement today. Growth in Zambia, Mauritius and Nigeria is “gaining traction,” Hedderwick said. Sales in South Africa rose 7.7 percent.

Full-year net income advanced 23 percent to 328.8 million rand ($34.2 million), the company said. Revenue increased 17 percent to 2.5 billion rand. The restaurant owner plans to boost the full-year dividend 25 percent to 2.50 rand a share.

Outside of Africa, Famous Brands will open its first Steers outlet in the U.K. and its first Debonairs Pizza restaurant in India in July, the company said.

Famous Brands fell for the time in five days, declining 0.8 percent to 93.23 rand at the close in Johannesburg, trimming its rally over the past year to 76 percent.

Having bought Europa and Fego Caffe brands in the past year, the company has also entered rural South African markets in which it was “previously under-represented,” it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Janice Kew in Johannesburg at jkew4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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