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Yum to return $6.2 bln to shareholders before China separation

Pedestrians walk past a Yum! Brands' KFC restaurant in Shanghai.
Tomohiro Ohsumi | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Pedestrians walk past a Yum! Brands' KFC restaurant in Shanghai.

Yum Brands said it planned to return up to $6.2 billion to shareholders before completing the separation of its China business, which is expected by the end of 2016.

The KFC and Pizza Hut owner, which has been hit by food scandals and marketing missteps in China, said same-restaurant sales in the country fell about 3 percent in November.

Same-store sales fell 1 percent at KFC outlets and 9 percent at Pizza Hut restaurants.

Yum Brands said overall earnings per share, excluding special items, would be flat or grow by a low single-digit percentage in the just-concluded fiscal year, as forecast.

The company said it would discuss further details of the planned separation of its China business at its investor conference in Plano, Texas later on Thursday.

Yum's 6,900-restaurant China division accounted for 54 percent of the company's overall operating profit in the third quarter.

Yum China's sales at established restaurants have fallen in four of the last five quarters.

Yum's shares were down 0.4 percent at $73.50 in premarket trading.