December 10, 2018 / 8:26 PM / a year ago

NZ's Restaurant Brands signs deal to expand Taco Bell in NZ, Australia

A Yum! Brands Inc. Taco Bell is shown in Encinitas, California,U.S., October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) - Fast-food group Restaurant Brands New Zealand Ltd (RBD.NZ) inked a deal to expand “Tex-Mex” food chain Taco Bell’s brand in New Zealand and in Australia’s New South Wales, the company said on Tuesday.

The agreement reached with Taco Bell Restaurants Asia PTE dictates the construction of more than 60 new Taco Bell restaurants in NZ and Australia from Jan. 2019 through June 2024, the company said in a statement.

U.S.-based restaurant operator Yum Brands (YUM.N) is the parent of Taco Bell, a fast food chain that serves primarily Mexican cuisine. RBD also operates the Yum-owned KFC and Pizza Hut brands in New Zealand.

Under the agreement, Restaurant Brands will have the right of first offer to establish any new Taco Bell restaurants across the relevant regions.

However, the company said it would take “several years” for its Australian and NZ markets to bear fruit in terms of earnings, unlike its Taco Bell stores in Guam and Hawaii which brought in NZ$19.4 million in EBITDA in fiscal 2018.

The company said the deal will be funded through its existing resources.

In October, Restaurant Brands said it was in takeover talks with Mexico-based Finaccess Capital, which made a $578 million bid for a controlling stake.

Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru; editing by Andrew Roche

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