WorleyParsons warns regulator about Dubai shareholder’s stake raise

Pedestrians are reflected in a window in front of a board displaying stock prices at the Australian Securities Exchange. (File/Reuters)
Updated 16 October 2019

WorleyParsons warns regulator about Dubai shareholder’s stake raise

  • WorleyParsons generated revenues of about $4.75 billion last year

BENGALURU: Australian industrial engineering company WorleyParsons said it has informed the country’s foreign investments regulator of “creeping acquisitions” by its biggest shareholder, Dubai-based Dar Group.

WorleyParsons had rejected a $2.2 billion full takeover bid from Dar Group in 2016, and Dar now owns about 20.2 percent of the Australian company, according to Refinitiv data.

WorleyParsons’ announcement came in response to a report on Tuesday by the Australian Financial Review that Worley had told the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) Dar was seeking to take control of the company and it believed the move would be against Australia’s national interest.

FASTFACT

4.75bn

WorleyParsons generated revenues of about $4.75 billion last year.

The AFR report added that Worley has requested the regulator to reject an application by Dar Group in which it has sought the regulator’s permission to increase its stake.

WorleyParsons said in a statement it went to the FIRB after Dar bought some of its shares and requested representation on the WorleyParsons board. 

“Worley ... is entrusted with sensitive information and performs a vital role for customers and governments in Australia, the USA and globally on projects and infrastructure that are of a critical nature,” it said.


Popeyes flexes its muscles in China as KFC feels the heat

Updated 57 min 7 sec ago

Popeyes flexes its muscles in China as KFC feels the heat

  • Popeyes signed a lease in Shanghai for its first store in China on Monday

SHANGHAI: US fried chicken chain Popeyes wants to become the top chicken brand in China, the chief executive of its parent company said on Tuesday, as it prepares to take on KFC, the leading player in the world’s most populous market.

Popeyes signed a lease in Shanghai for its first store in China on Monday, which is expected to open next year.

The company outlined plans in July to build 1,500 restaurants in China in the coming decade, becoming the last of Toronto-based Restaurant Brands International Inc’s main brands to enter the country.

By contrast, Yum China’s KFC has about 6,300 stores. Yum has said that it is acutely aware there is more opportunity to expand in China, noting that while it was in 1,300 Chinese cities, there are still as many as 800 cities without a KFC store.

Popeyes’ July plan was “just really to put a framework on the short-term potential business,” Jose Cil, RBI’s CEO said in an interview in Shanghai.

“I think we can be the No. 1 chicken brand here in China and all around Asia,” he said, adding that consumers in the region were looking for options. He dismissed concerns that a slowing China economy and trade tensions had dimmed prospects for growth in the long term.

Cil’s remarks comes as the Cajun-inspired fast food chicken chain experiences a surge in popularity in the US after a newly launched fried chicken sandwich went viral on social media.

Demand was such that Popeyes had to stop taking orders after only two weeks before relaunching it this month.

The sandwich will also be offered in China, he said.

Cil noted that RBI’s other two main brands had seen rapid growth in China.

Burger King has expanded to around 1,100 stores in China from less than 100 in 2012. “We think we’ll keep growing at a steady pace,” Cil said.

And Tim Hortons, its Canadian coffee chain, just opened its 28th store in China after launching there in February.

“We are preparing ourselves to be able to accelerate growth in the coming years,” Cil said of
the brand.