January 23, 2019 / 12:10 PM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 3-Restaurant Brands names Burger King boss Jose Cil as CEO

(Adds comments from conference call, analyst estimates; updates shares)

By Shradha Singh

Jan 23 (Reuters) - Restaurant Brands International Inc on Wednesday named the current head of its Burger King unit, Jose Cil, as its chief executive officer, as the company tries to boost sales globally in a sector shaped by ever-changing consumer fads and deep discounts.

Cil takes over from Daniel Schwartz, who was instrumental in creating the fast-food giant through the acquisitions of Burger King in 2010, Tim Hortons in 2014 and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in 2017. Schwartz will become the executive chairman of the company.

“I am going to be way more active than the typical chair,” Schwartz said on a conference call with analysts, adding that he will focus on growing the restaurant’s brands and look for potential M&A opportunities.

“We look at iconic brands that we can grow significantly over the long run,” Schwartz said, without giving any other detail.

The company’s shares rose 5 percent to C$81.39 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Shares of fast-food chain Papa John’s International Inc also rose after Dealreporter said the company could be a possible target for Restaurant Brands.

The company also estimated higher sales at like-for-like stores in its fourth quarter.

It expects Tim Hortons’ fourth-quarter comparable sales to rise 2.2 percent in Canada. Analysts were expecting a rise of 1.1 percent, according to Will Slabaugh of brokerage Stephens.

At Burger King, the company’s largest business, same store sales are set to rise 0.8 percent in the United States. Analysts were expecting the Whopper burger maker to post a 0.1 percent dip in same store sales during the quarter.

Restaurant Brands has been working on various initiatives, ranging from introducing app-based ordering to all-day breakfasts to lift sales of its Burger King and Tim Hortons brands as they face rising competition from McDonald’s Corp and Yum Brands Inc’s Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The company recently ran a campaign where customers who drove up near a McDonald’s restaurant got an offer to buy Burger King’s Whopper burgers for one cent, helping drive traffic.

“The Burger King app has now led us to over 6 million downloads,” Cil said on a conference call with analysts.

Cil has been with Burger King for 18 years and its president since 2014. He has been leading growth at Burger King, expanding the chain to more than 17,000 restaurants in over 100 countries.

Restaurant Brands shares were up 6.3 percent at C$80.98 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting By Shradha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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