DineEquity Inc. on Monday said that its wholly owned franchising subsidiary struck a deal to open 40 IHOP restaurants in nine Middle Eastern countries.

IHOP Franchise Company LLC signed an agreement with an affiliated entity of Kuwait’s M.H. Alshaya Co. WLL to open outlets in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain and Egypt over the next 13 months. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Glendale company, which also owns the highly franchised Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar chain, said the agreement marks the first major expansion of the IHOP chain outside of North America and represents the largest international development deal in the brand's history.

DineEquity has more than 3,500 owned or franchised restaurants, 1,513 of them IHOP locations. While most IHOPs are in the U.S., Canada or Mexico, the company recently opened locations in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guatemala.

"This agreement illustrates our commitment to grow our business by leveraging DineEquity's valuable brands and expanding beyond the markets we have traditionally served," said Chief Executive Julia Stewart in a statement. "We look forward to working with Alshaya to make IHOP, with its unmistakable offerings and excellent service, a destination of choice for guests throughout the Middle East."

Shares closed up 31 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $48.99 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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