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Thailand’s No. 3 KFC Operator Tries to Offload 200 Outlets

KFC Restaurant Thailand Mall Outlet

Less than four years after buying hundreds of KFC restaurants in Thailand, Restaurants Development Co. is looking to get out.

The Bangkok-based consortium of Thai, Japanese and Southeast Asian investors has retained at least one adviser to sell its almost 200 quick-service restaurants, hoping to fetch about US$200 million. The company did not comment on proposed sale.

Restaurants Development, headed by Australian Andrew Norton, was formed in 2016 and purchased 128 KFC outlets being sold by Norton’s then-employer, U.S.-based Yum! Brands. Norton began work there in 2003 as a panning manager and steadily moved up to vice president for finance and supply chain.

The company moved quickly to expand KFC in Thailand, opening 30 or more outlets each of the following years. But the coronavirus pandemic has crushed earnings for restaurants this year. Despite its active delivery business, ongoing expansion costs may have collided with cratering income, prompting Restaurant Development to look for the exit.

Likely buyers for RDC’s holdings are rivals Central Group, which already operates 275 KFCs, and Thai Beverage Plc., whose QSR Asia subsidiary bought more than 240 restaurants in 2017 for about 11.3 billion baht.