Wednesday, April 8, 2009

2008-2009 KFC sales figures mislead investors

Let me just elaborate on a short post I made at Shareinvestor.net.nz regarding Restaurant Brands [RBD.NZ] results to the year ended 28 February 2009.

It is something I have mentioned many times before but it must be stressed once again because Restaurant Brands shareholders and prospective investors in the company must be given the full picture when it comes to RBD managements disclosure over their KFC sales.

The "record" $211 million of sales reported in today's result for KFC is only a record in terms of 2009 dollars. KFC are actually serving up less chicken to fewer customers.

Their best listed year was in 1997 where they did $172.3 million in KFC sales. That is because of accumulated inflation at a very conservative 3% annually over the last 12 years amounts to 36%.

36% inflation means in 2009 dollars RBD would have to sell $62 million more chicken just to match the record made in 1997.

$211 million is a long way from the figure they need to make, of $234.32 million, just to match the 1997 record.

I am not an accountant and nor do I think I need to be but if such emphasis of "record sales" is placed on a figure by RBD management to gain market approval that the expenditure of 10s of millions of shareholder funds on KFC refurbishment in order to attain those sales then that figure should be clearly accurate and take inflation into account. That is simply not the case here.

Granted one can do the math oneself to come up with relative figures and compare year by year sales but having said that, to use current sales figures as a tool to push further shareholder expenditure must be justified to the nearest decimal point.

RBD's figures therefore do not pass this test and furthermore for analysts and business reporters to accept this without question is surely remiss to some extent.

Still my record with this company probably goes back longer than many on the RBD board or those professional stock analysts in their professional capacity.

Once again I am not an accountant but I would like to see inflation taken into account when businesses do their books, at lease an annotation in the audited reports of what the inflation rate was in the last year so a stockholder or a prospective stockholder can make a fully accurate comparison before they decide to buy, or not as the case may be.

Just to end on a positive note, the company is negotiating with YUM! over the Pizza Hut franchise and it is expected that this will allow RBD management to divest individual Pizza Hut stores to owner operators.

This is one thing I have argued for Pizza Hut for years that individual ownership makes for a better run business because owners have skin in the game. Pizza Hut's competitor Dominos have this arrangement and they are currently experiencing records sales.

This solution will be at once beneficial for RBD because Pizza Hut loses money and for the Pizza Hut brand in New Zealand which will be able to rejuvenate itself under an alternative ownership structure.

RBD shares were up 1c to 86c today on reasonable volume.


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Related Amazon Reading

Secret Recipe: Why Kfc Is Still Cooking After 50 Years

Secret Recipe: Why KFC Is Still Cooking After 50 Years by Robert Darden
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c Share Investor 2009