Consolidated Press Holdings---Chicken Treat Perth

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    gedoudahere (ID#: 405910) Breaking news not in today's AFR. 15/6/02 11:53:20 AM 5275599
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    AFR News - 15.06.02 01:33 (a.m.)
    Peter Klinger
    Kerry Packer's Consolidated Press Holdings has emerged as a significant investor in the Perth owners of the Chicken Treat fast food chain, after helping fund its $60 million to $80 million acquisition of the rival Red Rooster business.

    CPH has taken a convertible note in Australian Fast Foods, the privately held company run by Frank Romano and Nick Tana that will now boast an annual turnover of $330 million from almost 400outlets.

    AFF would not reveal how much CPH had injected in return for the convertible note but said the note was unlikely to be exercised in the short term. A CPH representative is likely to join AFF's board.

    The issue of the convertible note also suggests a sharemarket listing within the next three to four years is on the agenda for AFF.

    The convertible note was in addition to an estimated $50 million leveraged finance facility arranged by Commonwealth Bank's buyouts and acquisitions group.

    AFF concluded the Red Rooster acquisition late last month, bringing to an end nine months of negotiations with the chain's former owner, Coles Myer.

    And while Red Rooster is likely to post its second successive loss this financial year, Mr Romano said he expected the acquisition to be earnings-positive for AFF almost immediately.

    "This is just what we wanted and we are the right people to make it work," he said on Friday.

    Coles Myer's Red Rooster divestment was announced in March as part of the retail giant's biggest restructuring since its creation in 1985.



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