Restaurant Brands expects 2014 profit will be a little ahead of 2013

Restaurant Brands, which operates four fast-food chains, expects 2014 annual profit to be “a little ahead” of the previous year as sales rise in a challenging economic environment and costs remain under control.

The latest forecast reiterates the company’s comment on April 4 that profit would be higher than the $16.2 million for the 2013 financial year. No further details were provided.

“Last year provided us with a challenging economic environment and the New Year has not yet seen a significant improvement,” chairman Ted van Arkel said in notes for a speech to the company’s annual meeting in Wellington today. “Customers are still not opening their wallets in any meaningful manner and the competition for their dollar remains as intense as ever.”

Restaurant Brands is attempting to boost profit margins by refurbishing stores at its main KFC unit and exiting its worst performing Pizza Hut and Starbucks Coffee stores while bringing on board a new Carl’s Jr burger chain.

Shares in Restaurant Brands rose 1.4 percent to $2.80, taking their gain this year to 4.6 percent.

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