Quarterly Earnings Forecast Review: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. (PLKI)

Posted February 23, 2017

Restaurant Brands was formed three years ago when 3G Capital-backed Burger King bought Tim Hortons Inc. for $11 billion.

"We look forward to taking an already very strong brand and accelerating its pace of growth and opening new restaurants in the USA and around the world", he added.

Popeyes, a fast-growing 45-year-old chicken restaurant, has more than 2,600 eateries in the USA and 25 countries around the world.

Cowen points out Dairy Queen has hundreds of locations across Canada and says RBI's "international master franchise structure could accelerate growth".

Still, cost savings could be as much as much as 20 to 30 per cent, estimated Robert Carter, executive director of food services at market researcher NPD Group. "We view this as unlikely now that RBI is purchasing [Popeyes]".

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According to Reuters, which first reported the alleged takeover discussions between Restaurant Brands and Popeye's, the rationale behind such a deal would be to bring the latter's Louisiana-style fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits to a broader global audience using Restaurant Brands' worldwide muscle. Popeyes over all has more than 2,600 restaurants. Businesses typically get more packages per stop than residences, making delivery to individual homes more expensive.

The move fits with Restaurant Brands' approach of taking over well-known fast-food chains it sees as having the potential for significant expansion.

The highest price PLKI stock touched in the last 12 month was $78.86 and the lowest price it hit in the same period was $49.11.

With the advent of newer entrants like Shake Shack and Five Guys, the fast food business has become more challenging in the U.S in the recent few years.

In a conference call, Restaurant Brands CEO Daniel Schwartz explained: "The key to long-term success at Popeyes will be a focus on guest satisfaction and franchise profitability".

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RBI is only now growing its Tim Hortons chain internationally, with three master franchise development agreements in the Philippines, the United Kingdom and Mexico, although "these agreements took longer to strike than investors expected, while no stores have been opened under these agreements as franchisees are building the supply chain", the Cowen analysts wrote.

"As Popeyes enters its 45th year, its success reflects the fantastic brand entrusted to us by founder Al Copeland, Sr. and the unique high trust partnership that we enjoy with our franchise owners", Popeyes CEO Cheryl Bachelder says in a statement.

Based on several research reports, Company shares were Reiterated by RBC Capital Mkts on Feb 14, 2017 to "Outperform", Firm has raised the Price Target to $ 59 from a previous price target of $54. For example, sometimes purchasers of a franchised system increase the price of inventories and supplies and cut overhead that supports the franchisees. The company projects a long term annual growth estimate of 16 percent.

"When culture changes, things can go wrong", Mr. Levitt said.

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