Cowin sells off KFC stores for $56m

Fast-food pioneer Jack Cowin has finally sold his KFC franchises in WA in a $56 million deal with restaurant operator Collins Foods.

Mr Cowin had for years been locked in a dispute with Yum! Brands, in which he claimed KFC's American franchisor had frustrated efforts to sell the stores.

But yesterday, Australian Securities Exchange-listed Collins Foods announced it had agreed to buy Mr Cowin's Competitive Foods, owner of 40 WA restaurants and four in the Northern Territory, for $55.6 million.

Mr Cowin, better known for his Hungry Jacks empire, established the KFC franchises here in 1969.

The acquisition delivers Queensland-based Collins Foods the majority of KFC outlets in WA. Six others are owned by Yum! Brands and three are operated by another franchisee.

Competitive Foods recorded sales of $107 million in the past financial year. Collins Foods said the business had forecast earnings of about $10 million this year from revenue of $110 million.

Collins Foods managing director Kevin Perkins said there was no longer any conflict between Competitive Foods and Yum! Brands.

"All of that's settled, I understand, and we take over the franchise of the stores and move on," he said. He said there were plans to add another 25 to 30 stores in WA over the next decade.

The company owns 123 KFC outlets in Queensland and two in NSW. It also operates 27 Sizzler restaurants in Australia.