LOUISVILLE — Yum Brands, owner of the Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC fast-food chains, said Monday that its fourth-quarter profit rose 30 percent from a combination of strong overseas growth and a sales turnaround at Pizza Hut in the United States.
Yum added 656 restaurants in China and 905 in the rest of its international markets in 2011. The company expects to maintain that growth in 2012, opening 1,500 restaurants overseas, including about 600 in China.
In the United States, Pizza Hut's revenue from restaurants open at least a year rose 6 percent.
But the figure fell 2 percent at Taco Bell, which had another sluggish quarter in the United States. The Mexican-style chain is struggling to regain momentum after being stung by publicity last year from a now-dropped lawsuit that questioned the beef content of its taco and burrito filling.
At KFC, comparable sales fell 1 percent from a year earlier.
Louisville-based Yum earned $356 million, or 75 cents a share, for the quarter. That's up from $274 million, or 56 cents a share, a year earlier. Its revenue rose 15 percent, to $4.1 billion.
Analysts expected profit of 74 cents a share on revenue of $4.04 billion.
Outside China, Yum's profit benefited from the quarter being a week longer than it was last year. But its operating profit in China rose 15 percent, adjusted for currency fluctuations. In the international division, which excludes China, the company's operating profit rose 12 percent, adjusted for currency fluctuations. And, in the United States, operating profit rose 10 percent.
Yum operates more than 37,000 restaurants in more than 110 countries and territories. The company recently sold its Long John Silver's and A&W All-American Restaurants brands.