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Malaysia KFC operator aiming to revive IPO this year

[HONG KONG] QSR Brands (M) Holdings Bhd, which runs KFC and Pizza Hut outlets in South-east Asia, aims to revive an initial public offering as soon as the fourth quarter, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The company on Wednesday shelved its Malaysia shares sale after talks with its bankers, without giving a reason. Discussions of the IPO revival are in early stages and the company's earnings in the next two quarters will play a key role in deciding the timing, said the people, asking not to be named as the information is private.

"We will make the necessary announcement at the appropriate time," QSR Brand's managing director Mohamed Azahari Kamil said by phone on Thursday, declining to comment further. The company planned to raise as much as US$600 million in the share sale, according to terms for the deal obtained by Bloomberg earlier.

A listing of that size would give a boost to first-time share sales in Malaysia, where fundraising via IPOs dropped to the lowest annual tally in at least a decade. Deals have amounted to just US$3.85 million in 2019, from US$40.5 million in the same period last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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QSR started gauging investor demand for an IPO in March. At the time, the firm and its existing shareholders, including private equity firm CVC Capital Partners Ltd, planned to offer as many as 1.5 billion shares, the earlier terms show. State-owned conglomerate Johor Corp and a fund under Malaysia's finance ministry also sought to sell shares, the terms show.

QSR operates more than 820 KFC restaurants in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, and Cambodia, as well as more than 470 Pizza Hut outlets in Malaysia and Singapore. The company also breeds chickens and produces sauces, branding itself as a "farm to fork" food operator.

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