McDonald's Indian franchisee Hardcastle to merge with listed parent

MUMBAI Fri Dec 7, 2012 1:57pm GMT

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MUMBAI (Reuters) - Hardcastle Restaurants, master franchisee for south and west India operations of burger chain McDonald's Corp (MCD.N), said it will merge with its parent Westlife Development Ltd (WEST.BO).

After the merger, the parent plans to increase McDonald's retail footprint to strengthen its presence in the existing market and enter newer ones, Amit Jatia, vice-chairman of Westlife Development, said in a statement on Friday.

Hardcastle will become a wholly owned unit of Bombay Stock Exchange-listed Westlife, giving investors a chance to participate in the growth of McDonald's in India.

Hardcastle, which operates 148 restaurants in India, has been growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 22.3 percent over the last three years.

Shares of Westlife, an illiquid stock, ended up 2 percent on the BSE on Friday.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee)

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