2. Yum! Brands (YUM - Get Report) is a restaurant company operating over 38,000 restaurants in 110 countries and territories and employs 1 million people. Its portfolio includes company-operated and franchised stores worldwide under the brands KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Long John Silver's (LJS) and A&W All-American Food Restaurants.
For the third quarter 2011, operating profit increased 7% in China and 3% at Yum! Restaurants International. Worldwide sales grew 6%, including 29% in China and 8% at YRI. The company plans to open 600 new units in China this year and 900 new units in YRI. Same-store sales increased 19% in China and 3% at YRI.
During the quarter, the company announced a 14% increase in its quarterly dividend. Going forward, the company targets an annual dividend payout ratio of 35% to 40% of net income.The company plans to buy Little Sheep restaurants in China after clearance from China's Ministry of Commerce. It currently holds 27.2% of the outstanding shares of Little Sheep. In the past 52 weeks, shares of Yum! Brands traded between a low of $46.27 and a high of $59.17 and currently at $58.28. JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America have a buy rating on the stock with a price target of $67.