Restaurant Brands says a modest pick up in the economy and the expansion of its fledgling Carl's Jr chain should see 2014 net profit come in "a little ahead" of last year.
Addressing shareholders at the fast food franchise operator's annual meeting in Wellington this morning, chairman Ted van Arkel said 2013 had been an exciting and challenging year for the company.
"The excitement came firstly from the launch of Carl's Jr, a strong performing US-based burger brand, and secondly from the success of the turnaround in Pizza Hit as a result of our value offering," he said.
"The challenge came from a weak economic recovery presenting a myriad of decisions requiring careful thought and navigation."
However, van Arkel said tighter management controls, improved marketing and the expansion of the Carl's Jr franchise should deliver further gains in the year head.
The company reported a net profit of $16.2 million for the 12 months to the end of February, down from $16.9m in the previous year. That was off total revenues of $312.8m.
Sales its flagship KFC restaurant chain hit a record of $237m, but grew at a near-stagnant rate of 0.3 per cent.
The firm's Pizza Hut outlets saw sales rise 5 per cent $47.5m, and revenues from its Starbucks stores fall 5 per cent to $25.1m.
Restaurant Brands shares rose 1.5 per cent today to $2.80, and have gained 34.6 per cent over the last 12-months.