Wendy's/Arby's Group Inc. announced it is exploring strategic alternatives for Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc., including a sale of the brand. UBS Investment Bank is assisting in the process.

Arby’s is the second-largest quick-service sandwich chain in the U.S. with nearly 3,700 restaurants. Arby’s restaurants specialize in slow roasted and freshly sliced roast beef sandwiches as well as Market Fresh deli-style sandwiches, toasted subs and salads, all with the convenience of a drive-through.

Nelson Peltz, chairman of Wendy's/Arby's Group, said, “We believe the way to maximize shareholder value is to focus all of our management and financial resources on continuing to build the Wendy’s brand. Arby’s is a good business, and we are making progress improving its performance, as evidenced by the 3.1% increase in company-operated same-store sales in the fourth quarter of 2010. However, despite Arby’s positive momentum, the reality is that the Wendy's brand, given its relative size and scope, is the key driver of shareholder return, and we believe we should focus on the execution of the compelling growth opportunities at Wendy’s.”

Roland Smith, president and CEO of Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, said, “Wendy’s currently has more than 6,500 restaurants in more than 20 countries and is one of the most attractive growth stories in the quick-service restaurant industry. A pure-play Wendy's will enable us to focus all of our energies on growing the Wendy’s brand via new store growth both in North America and international markets, and with accelerated same-store sales through the introduction of new dayparts and core menu innovation.”

Source: Wendy's/Arby's Group Inc.

Beef exports up 50% in November

Exports of U.S. beef were up 50 percent in November, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. That boost in demand has helped bring about higher prices in the Chicago futures markets, as the price for live cattle has increased from $91 per hundredweight a year ago to $114.17 for April delivery, reports theDes Moines Register. Feeder cattle prices increased from $106 in October to $127.45 per hundredweight.

South Korea was a huge customer, doubling its orders of U.S. beef. South American markets have been particularly strong, with a 32 percent increase. The China/Hong Kong market was up 11 percent in November.

"Higher cash prices and higher feed costs have been fueling this bull run in the cattle futures," said Jeff French of Top Third Marketing in Chicago. "Great wholesale beef demand has also kept a bid underneath the futures contracts. Potential export demand to Asia because of the Australian floods was one of the biggest contributors to this week's rally. Asian countries use Australia as their No. 1 source for beef purchases."

Another factor supporting rising beef prices has been the cold snap over Iowa and the Midwest, which will limit cattle growth.

Source: Des Moines Register

Yum! Brands to sell Long John Silver's, A&W chains

Yum! Brands Inc. announced its plans to place its Long John Silver’s and A&W All-American Food Restaurants for sale, and has begun a process to identify a buyer. The company is sharpening its long-term growth focus on building leading brands in every significant category in China, driving aggressive international expansion, and improving its U.S. brand positions by building new dayparts and sales layers at Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC.

“Over the past decade, Yum! has delivered annual EPS growth of 13 percent, exceeding our 10 percent annual growth target. This has been driven by aggressively building restaurants in China and Yum! Restaurants International at a pace of nearly four new restaurants every day of the year. We do not believe Long John Silver’s and A&W-All American Food restaurants fit into our long-term growth strategy,” said David C. Novak, Yum! Brands chairman and CEO. “Accordingly, we have decided to put these two great brands up for sale and we will complete the sale only once the right buyer or buyers have been identified and we can ensure a seamless transition.” The company does not expect the eventual sale to have a material impact to its ongoing earnings or cash flow.

In 1998, when Yum! Brands was spun-off from PepsiCo, 22 percent of its profits were sourced internationally. Today, about 65 percent of the company’s profits are from the China and Yum! Restaurants International divisions, and the company expects that percentage to grow to 75 percent by 2015. In the U.S., Taco Bell accounts for approximately 60 percent of the company’s profits, followed by Pizza Hut and KFC. The Long John Silver’s and A&W All-American Foods Brands account for a total of 1,630 restaurants, all of which are owned and operated by franchisees.

Source: Yum! Brands Inc.

Process Expo 2011 opens registration

The Food Processing Suppliers Association announced that registration has opened for the 2011 Process Expo, taking place November 1-4, 2011 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

“We are looking forward to the strongest Process Expo attendance ever,” said Scott Scriven, chairman of the FPSA and president of Weber Inc. “With a show floor over 75% larger than in 2010, including bellwether equipment manufacturers across all segments of the food and beverage industry, interest in Process Expo is at an all-time high. Exhibitors have been promoting the show to customers and prospects for months now and now they will be able to sign up and learn even more about the show.”

Advance registration for Process Expo is $25 and provides full access to exhibits and an extensive educational program providing processing and packaging solutions for the various segments of the industry. “We are already discussing registration with buying teams from several major food processors,” said David Seckman, president and CEO of FPSA. “With registration and housing now open, both attendees and exhibitors can begin making their plans for the fall show.”

For more information about attending Process Expo 2011, visit www.myprocessepo.com or contact Andy Drennan at (703) 663-1201 or adrennan@fpsa.org . To book space or inquire about exhibiting in Process Expo, contact Grace Cular Yee at (703) 663-1220 or gyee@fpsa.org.

Source: FPSA