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Carl’s Jr. Opens First Restaurant in Vietnam

CKE Restaurants Inc. on Tuesday said that it has opened its first Carl’s Jr. restaurant in Vietnam. It said that this is the first major Western quick-service hamburger chain to open in that market.

The Carpinteria fast-food chain said the restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is the first of at least 25 Carl’s Jr.’s to be opened in Vietnam over the next six years. The restaurants will be operated by Mesa Asia Pacific Trading Services Company Ltd., a unit of a holding company Mesa Group Inc., which specializes in consumer goods distribution, restaurant operations, media and real estate development.

”We are very pleased to welcome Mesa Group Inc. as a part of the CKE team,” said Chief Executive Andrew F. Puzder in a statement. “The growth in the Vietnamese consumer market is truly remarkable.”

CKE’s entry into Vietnam is part of a strategic plan to accelerate franchise development in international markets. In addition to existing operations in China, Singapore, Malaysia and American Samoa, CKE plans to enter Indonesia this year. It recently signed a agreement with PT Fortune Foods Limited to open 25 Carl’s Jr. locations in Jakarta.

CKE now franchises 342 international restaurants, comprising both its Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brands. The company has a total of 3,147 franchised, licensed or company-operated restaurants in 42 states and in 14 countries.

Shares closed down 9 cents, or less than a percent, to $12.27 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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