Latin America and the Caribbean (“LAC”) delivered comparable sales growth of 2.7%, despite challenging prior year comparisons in each of the company’s key markets. BKW has implemented new value initiatives in Brazil and Mexico in October to balance its menu options and complement premium offerings such as the Picanha burger in Brazil, and is seeing initial signs of success in driving incremental traffic.
APAC comparable sales declined by 2.2%, driven by weaker results in Australia and Korea as well as a particularly challenging prior year comparison in New Zealand, which hosted the rugby world cup in 2011.
As part of BKW’s global refranchising strategy, the company refranchised 221 company-owned restaurants during the quarter, including 182 restaurants in the U.S. and 39 restaurants internationally. In connection with this quarter’s refranchising transactions, BKW received cash proceeds of $31.6 million, development commitments both domestically and internationally, and domestic re-imaging commitments for 356 restaurants.
As part of BKW’s international expansion strategy, the company announced new Master Franchise and Development agreements with our existing Malaysian franchisee, Rancak Selera, to support the acceleration of restaurant growth in Singapore and Malaysia. Rancak Selera is a portfolio company of Ekuiti Nasional Berhad (Ekuinas), a government-linked private equity fund management company established to create the next generation of leading Malaysian companies. In connection with the Master Franchise and Development agreements, BKW refranchised 38 restaurants in Singapore to Rancak Selera and received a development commitment that is expected to more than double the BURGER KING® brand’s restaurant count in Singapore and Malaysia over the next 5 years.
Cash and Liquidity
At quarter end, total debt was $3.1 billion and net debt was $2.6 billion. During the quarter, BKW refinanced its existing Term Loan B facility with a new $1,735 million Term Loan A and Term Loan B facility. The new Term Loan A pays interest at LIBOR plus 2.25% and the new Term Loan B pays interest at LIBOR plus 2.75% with a 1.00% LIBOR floor. As a result of the refinancing transaction and based on three month LIBOR at the time of closing, BKW expects to realize annualized cash interest savings of approximately $25 million. Due to the improvement in net debt and in trailing twelve month Adjusted EBITDA, the net debt to Adjusted EBITDA ratio improved to 4.1x at September 30, 2012 from 4.6x at December 31, 2011.