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MOSCOW, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Yum Brands Inc, owner of fast-food brand KFC, plans to open between 60 and 70 restaurants this year in Russia and other former Soviet countries and is looking for new franchise partners to help drive growth.
Yum and its franchisees already have 216 restaurants in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the group makes more than half of its overall sales in China, where it has nearly 5,300 restaurants, mostly KFCs.
Its key global rival is McDonald's Corp.
Oleg Pisklov, head of Yum Restaurants International Russia & CIS, said on Monday the group considers the CIS, which consists of several ex-Soviet countries including Russia and Kazakhstan, one of the most promising areas for expansion, along with China.
Yum has 29 local partners in the CIS and plans to add five more by year-end, Yuri Babich, head of franchising at Yum Restaurants International Russia & CIS, told journalists.
Working in cooperation with local partners under franchise agreements, Yum opened 35 restaurants in the CIS last year. It plans to nearly double its chain to around 460 in the region by 2015, pushing yearly revenue to $1 billion.
Apart from KFC, Yum operates under the Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Long John Silver's brands, with nearly 34,000 restaurants in over 100 countries and territories.