Yum! Brands says separation of China business to be completed on October 31
Yum! Brands will announce at its annual investor conference in New York City the Company's strategic transformation plans to drive growth of its KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell brands following the separation of its China business, currently expected to be completed after the close of business on October 31, 2016. Yum! Brands will outline how the Company is sharpening its focus on the development of its three iconic global brands, increasing its franchise ownership and creating a leaner, more efficient cost structure. The Company will also provide an update for returning capital to shareholders. Major features of the Company's transformation and growth strategy involve being more focused, franchised and efficient. More Focused. Four growth drivers will form the basis of Yum! Brands' strategic plans and repeatable business model to accelerate same-store sales growth and net-new restaurant development at KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell around the world over the long term. More Franchised. Partnering with growth-minded franchisees, Yum! Brands will increase franchise restaurant ownership from 77% currently to 93% at the time of the separation of the China business to at least 98% by fiscal year ending 2018, with a focus on equipping and recruiting the best restaurant operators in the world to deliver great customer experiences and drive brand growth. More Efficient. The Company will revamp its financial profile, improving the efficiency of its organization and cost structure globally, by: Reducing annual capital expenditures from ~$500 million to ~$100 million; Reducing G&A by a cumulative ~$300 million by FYE 2019; and Maintaining optimized capital structure of ~5.0x EBITDA leverage. Following through on its previously announced plan to return $6.2 billion of capital to shareholders in connection with the separation of its China business, Yum! Brands has repurchased approximately $5.5 billion in shares at an average price of approximately $81, reducing its share count by approximately 16% as of October 10, 2016. The Company is also expanding its plan to return capital to shareholders and now expects to return a total of $13.5 billion between Q4 2015 and 2019. After the separation of the China business, Yum China Holdings, Inc. will become a licensee of Yum! Brands in Mainland China. Yum China will have exclusive rights to KFC, China's leading quick-service restaurant concept, Pizza Hut, the leading casual dining brand, and Taco Bell, which is expanding globally but is not yet in China. It will also own the Little Sheep and East Dawning concepts. Yum China has more than 7,300 restaurants and more than 400,000 employees in over 1,100 cities, and generated over $8 billion in system sales in 2015. The standalone company, Yum China, is expected to begin trading "regular way" on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "YUMC" on November 1, 2016.