CARPINTERIA, Calif., June 17, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ -- CKE Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: CKR) announced today that they have signed development agreements with MDS Foods Pte. Ltd. and Global Food Connection, LLC to open a combined 25 new Hardee's restaurants in Pakistan over the next five years. MDS Foods will open 15 Hardee's units in Lahore over the next five years and Global Food will open 10 Hardee's in Karachi over the next four years. The Pakistan agreements are part of CKE's overall strategic plan to accelerate franchise development in international markets. Currently, CKE Restaurants franchises 294 international units between both its Carl's Jr.(R) and Hardee's brands. CKE is expected to open its 300th international restaurant during the second quarter of the current fiscal year.
"We are pleased to have MDS Foods and Global Food Connection as a part of the CKE team. Both companies have demonstrated a passion for our brand and a strong desire to offer the best quality food and service available in the Pakistan market," said Andrew F. Puzder, president and chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants, Inc. "We currently have 184 Hardee's restaurants in nine Middle East countries and our entry into Pakistan is an ideal extension of our brand's international presence. Hardee's already enjoys a strong following as many Pakistanis have become familiar with the brand as they travel and work between Pakistan and the Gulf Region where we have had a strong Hardee's presence for almost 30 years. We are thrilled to finally bring the great-tasting, premium burgers and other menu items that Hardee's offers directly to the Pakistan market."
Sohail Yousaf, chief executive officer of MDS Foods added, "We are very excited to launch Hardee's in Pakistan. People in Pakistan are looking for a change in their fast food choices and the market is mature enough now to cater to various multinational quick-serve brands. The most encouraging thing for us is the extremely positive response and level of awareness that we have received from our target customers on Hardee's entry into the market. We are determined to make Hardee's the leading brand in Pakistan by providing premium, high-quality products and exceptional customer service. We have aggressive growth plans for the northern region of Pakistan with plans for growth in all major cities. Our flagship restaurant will open in the heart of Lahore by the end of the year."
Shabbir Siddiqui, president of Global Food Connection, said, "Hardees's will bring premium charbroiled burgers and a unique dining experience to Pakistan that will fulfill the needs of fast food lovers in the region. In Karachi, we will make Hardee's the destination of choice for consumers and set the standard for great customer service, food quality, and a great dining experience."
Headquartered in Carpinteria, California, CKE Restaurants, Inc. is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "CKR". As of its fiscal 2008 fourth quarter ended Jan. 28, 2008, CKE Restaurants, Inc., through its subsidiaries, had a total of 3,067 franchised, licensed or company-operated restaurants in 42 states and in 13 countries, including 1,141 Carl's Jr. restaurants and 1,926 Hardee's restaurants. For more information about CKE Restaurants, please go to www.ckr.com.
Headquartered in Lahore, Pakistan, MDS Foods is a division of the Lahore, Pakistan-based Super Asia group. Super Asia is engaged in the design and manufacture of home appliances for the Pakistan, Middle East and South East Asian markets. Super Asia is a family owned business having over 40 years experience in the Pakistan market, employing over 1,000 employees and generating sales in excess of $100 million. The Super Asia group is the market leader in home appliances across Pakistan as well as a manufacturer of motorcycles, three wheeled taxis and automotive parts. Mr. Sohail Yousaf, son of the founder of Super Asia, has been named chief executive officer of MDS Foods.
Based in Karachi, Pakistan, Global Food is a private investment entity established to develop and operate Hardee's in the Sind Province of Pakistan. Global Food's President, Mr. Shabbir Siddiqui has over 22 years of operation and ownership experience with CKE's Carl's Jr. brand in the Western United States and also has business interests in the marketing and telecom sector in Karachi, Pakistan.
Matters discussed in this news release contain forward-looking statements relating to future plans and developments, financial goals and operating performance that are based on management's current beliefs and assumptions. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that are often difficult to predict, are beyond the Company's control and which may cause results to differ materially from expectations. Factors that could cause the Company's results to differ materially from those described include, but are not limited to, whether or not restaurants will be closed and the number of restaurant closures, consumers' concerns or adverse publicity regarding the Company's products, the effectiveness of operating initiatives and advertising and promotional efforts (particularly at the Hardee's brand), changes in economic conditions or prevailing interest rates, changes in the price or availability of commodities, availability and cost of energy, workers' compensation and general liability premiums and claims experience, changes in the Company's suppliers' ability to provide quality and timely products to the Company, delays in opening new restaurants or completing remodels, severe weather conditions, the operational and financial success of the Company's franchisees, franchisees' willingness to participate in the Company's strategies, the availability of financing for the Company and its franchisees, unfavorable outcomes in litigation, changes in accounting policies and practices, effectiveness of internal controls over financial reporting, new legislation or government regulation (including environmental laws), the availability of suitable locations and terms for the sites designated for development, and other factors as discussed in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward- looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law or the rules of the New York Stock Exchange.
SOURCE CKE Restaurants, Inc.