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Domino’s Pizza prioritises sale of international arm as overseas sales slide

The chain said operating profit for the UK and Ireland will be in line with market expectations while international operations bar Germany will be excluded from underlying results

Domino's Pizza Group PLC - Domino’s Pizza fails to mention international arm in profit forecast
Almost 600,000 New York Hot Dog pizza have been sold in three months

Domino’s Pizza Group PLC (LON:DOM) rose on Wednesday as it sold eight New York Hot Dog pizzas a minute after the October launch but the international arm kept dragging sales down.

The fast-food chain said operating profit for the UK and Ireland will be in line with market expectations, but its international operations will lose £20mln after sales dropped 5% in its latest quarter.

READ: Domino's Pizza says chief financial officer, David Bauernfeind died in tragic accident on Boxing Day

The FTSE 250-listed company said selling off the Norwegian operations remains the priority, “given the significant operating losses in this market”.

Following that the plan is to dispose of Switzerland, Iceland and Sweden once a deal is agreed.

There was no mention of selling the German business.

In the 13 weeks to 29 December, group sales rose 4% on an organic basis to £352mln, with growth in UK and Ireland offset by the performance in central and northern Europe.

Full-year net debt will be slightly above guidance at £233mln, while capital expenditure will come in below the expected £25-30mln.

Chief executive David Wild said the board is “well advanced” in the search for an interim chief financial officer after the tragic passing of David Bauernfeind over the Christmas holidays.

The company said it keeps looking for a new chairperson, which will be followed by the recruitment of a new chief executive as Wild announced last year he would step down.

"New management will be up against tough franchise negotiations which could take time while profits fall," analysts at Liberum said in a note.

"We remain of the view that a fundamental strategy revision is required which could potentially lead to forecast cuts."

Shares jumped 8% to 319.93p on Wednesday at the opening bell.

--Adds detail, broker's comment, share price--

Quick facts: Domino's Pizza Group PLC

Price: 326.8 GBX

LSE:DOM
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £1.53 billion
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