Burger Fuel profits surge on Middle East boom

Profits at Burger Fuel are up 37pc as the company's Middle East expansion starts paying off. Photo / NZ Herald
Profits at Burger Fuel are up 37pc as the company's Middle East expansion starts paying off. Photo / NZ Herald

Burger Fuel Worldwide, the fast food chain and franchisor, boosted first-half profit 37 per cent as sales in its Middle Eastern franchises surged and the local chain took on a new structure. The shares sank 6.5 per cent to $1.15.

Net profit rose to $308,000, or 0.57 cents per share, in the six months ended Sept. 30, form $225,000, or 0.42 cents, a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Revenue climbed 10 per cent to $5.3 million, with Middle Eastern sales climbing 22 per cent to $1.49 million. The New Zealand unit lifted revenue 12 per cent to $3.87 million.

The company will not pay an interim dividend, preferring to hoard capital for expansion.

"Results for this period demonstrate a determined focus to grow company profits, whilst at the same time balancing out the need for further investment into our international expansion," chairman Peter Brook said.

"Whilst we are always mindful of returning profits to shareholders by way of dividends, it is essential at this time that we continue investment to support growth and take a long-term view of our business."

In recent years Burger Fuel has increased its exposure to the Middle East by signing master licensing agreements, which earns the company up-front territory fees and on-going royalties based on store turnover.

The fast food chain is focused on breaking into Middle East nations, and is part the Beachheads Global public-private partnership run by New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, which provides tailored mentoring for high-growth local companies.

The company increased system sales 27 per cent to $22.1 million. Total system sales represent till takings across all company-owned and franchise stores.

Burger Fuel sold its company-owned Australian store to a franchisee last year, and sees the market as holding large potential in the future.

The tightly-held stock trades infrequently on the NZAX, and has surged 132 per cent this year. Today's fall values the company at $61.7 million. When the company went public in 2007 it sold 15 million shares at $1 apiece.

- BusinessDesk

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