MTY to acquire 80% of Thai Zone restaurant chain for $17.8 million

MONTREAL - Quick service restaurant operator MTY Food Group Inc. (TSX:MTY) is adding a new restaurant chain to its portfolio by acquiring 80 per cent of Thai Zone restaurants for $17.8 million.

Established in 2007, Thai Zone has 24 franchised locations in the Quebec City area and plans to open five additional stores in the coming months.

All of the restaurants currently have street-front locations with dining rooms, take-out and delivery services, while some offer drive-thru service.

Two of Thai Zone's founders, who will retain 20 per cent ownership, will oversee the daily operations and future development of the brand.

MTY chief executive Stanley Ma said the acquired chain is a strong competitor in Quebec's Thai food franchise business and will be a solid contributor to MTY's future growth.

The Montreal-based company recently announced plans to grow its presence in the Middle East with the opening of its Sushi Shops in Kuwait.

It also announced plans to buy the group of companies that operate Extreme Pita, PurBlendz and Mucho Burrito restaurant chains in a $45-million deal that will give it a foothold in the U.S. market.

In April, it inked a deal for the SushiGo chain of fast food restaurants for $1.05 million in cash.

MTY Food Group operates more than 2,220 quick service restaurants, including those under the banners Yogen Fruz, Country Style, Mr. Sub and Au Vieux Duluth Express. Nearly 100 locations are outside of Canada.