Eastern European restaurant group AmRest swings to profit

WARSAW Fri May 9, 2014 5:42am EDT

WARSAW May 9 (Reuters) - Restaurant operator AmRest, the eastern European and Russian franchisee for brands including KFC, Burger King, and Starbucks, swung to a first-quarter profit as rising sales and new outlets outweighed the disruption caused by the crisis in Ukraine.

Warsaw-listed AmRest, which has 78 restaurants in Russia out of its total of 745, said on Friday it made a quarterly net profit of $2.82 million compared with a loss in the same period last year.

It said it was affected by the fall in the Russian rouble this year, as well as more general concerns about the tensions in Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russian separatists and western sanctions on Russia.

But the impact of that was off-set by higher sales and new restaurants, the company said. It opened 13 new outlets in Russia in the 12 months to March this year.

"Russia is one of the largest markets for AmRest. The management of the company monitors developments in this region with close attention and adjusts strategic decisions in order to minimize the currency risk and address potential fluctuations in consumers' demand," the firm said.

It said first-quarter revenue grew 11 percent year-on-year to 674 million zlotys ($223 million). Net profit was 8.5 million zlotys versus a 9.4 million loss in the first quarter of 2013.

The firm said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by almost 40 percent to 72.8 million zlotys. EBITDA in Russia was 9.74 million zlotys, up from 9.49 million zlotys in the same period last year. (Reporting by Michal Janusz; Writing by Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Christian Lowe and Mark Potter)

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