Tim Hortons to expand in UAE, other Gulf countries

Sat Feb 5, 2011 10:45am EST

Tim Hortons Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Donald Schroeder speaks during their annual general meeting of shareholders in Toronto May 14, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Cassese (CANADA - Tags: BUSINESS)

Tim Hortons Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Donald Schroeder speaks during their annual general meeting of shareholders in Toronto May 14, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Cassese (CANADA - Tags: BUSINESS)

(Reuters) - Tim Hortons Inc THI.TO THI.N, Canada's largest restaurant chain, signed a deal with Dubai-based Apparel Group to open up to 120 restaurants in the United Arab Emirates and neighbouring countries, to expand outside North America.

The properties will be developed and operated by Apparel in the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman, Tim Hortons said.

"There is an opportunity over the long term to explore international opportunities and seed the Tim Hortons brand in various markets outside of North America," said Don Schroeder, Chief Executive of Tim Hortons, citing demand for the company's Always Fresh premium coffee and baked goods.

The Oakville, Ontario-based company, which has a few stores in Britain and some military bases in the Middle East, had about 3,040 restaurants in Canada and 587 in the United States, as of July 4.

Apparel Group, which operates brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Aeropostale, has over 500 stores in about 14 countries.

Tim Hortons shares closed at C$41.24 on Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Gowri Jayakumar in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian)