S.Africa's Famous Brands FY earnings up 22 pct

Mon May 27, 2013 1:46am EDT

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JOHANNESBURG May 27 (Reuters) - South African fast-food company Famous Brands reported a 22 percent increase in full-year earnings on Monday, helped by solid sales growth and an increase in new stores.

Headline earnings for the year to end-February came in at 339 cents per share versus 278 cents a year earlier.

Famous Brands holds the franchise rights to some of South Africa's best known fast-food outlets and despite the subdued macro-economic climate has grown its business to 1,764 restaurants and plans to expand in the UK and India.

A total of 140 new restaurants were opened in the year, with 110 of these in South Africa.

Chief Executive Kevin Hedderwick said it is launching its Steers brand in the UK and opening a Debonairs Pizza restaurant in Mumbai in July.

A final dividend of 142 cents was declared, bringing the total dividend to 250 cents a share, an increase of 25 percent on the previous year.

Shares of Famous Brands closed at 94 rand on Friday, a year high for the stock that has traded as low as 69.50 rand this year. (Reporting by Sherilee Lakmidas; editing by David Dolan)

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