France Is the Next Step in Burger King's Global Expansion

Burger King Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: BKW) announced Tuesday that it has inked a deal with restaurant operator Groupe Olivier Bertrand to further expand into France. Financial terms were not disclosed, nor did it say how many more restaurants it plans to open, but the company aims to take about 20% of all fast-food sales in the European nation. Naxicap Partners, a French private equity firm, will have a minority stake in the joint venture.

The company had as many as 40 locations in France in the past, but exited the market in 1997. Last year it opened three French locations in travel hubs such as airports, in a partnership with Italian restaurant operator Autogrill SpA. Larger competitor McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) has more than 1,200 locations in France, and Burger King also will compete with European hamburger chain Quick.

The joint venture with Groupe Olivier Bertrand is just the most recent Burger King effort to expand globally. Since Burger King came public again, it has signed franchise deals for locations in Brazil, China, Russia and South Africa. Last week the fast-food company said it formed a joint venture with private-equity company Everstone Group to open stores in India. We wondered recently whether Burger King would do any better in India than it did in China.

Burger King shares rose less than 1% to $20.99 Tuesday and they were inactive in premarket trading Wednesday. The Miami-based company has gained about 28% this year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Restaurants Index is up about 25%.