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Yum Brands earnings: 95 cents per share, vs expected EPS of 83 cents

Yum Brands shares went higher Wednesday after the company announced better than expected earnings.

The company reported first-quarter earnings of 95 cents per share on $2.62 billion in revenue.

KFC, Yum Brand
Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Analysts had expected Yum Brands to report earnings of about 83 cents a share on $2.66 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Following the earnings announcement the stock jumped more than 5 percent.

"I'm very pleased with our results in the first quarter, including better-than-expected core operating profit growth of 21%, driven by 42% growth in our China business," CEO Greg Creed said in a statement.

Yum saw worldwide system sales increase by 5 percent and worldwide same-store sales increase by 2 percent in the first quarter, according to the company.

Yum Brands, which has nearly 43,000 restaurants in 130 countries, opened 295 new restaurants worldwide in the first quarter, with 72 percent of its international development occurring in emerging markets, the company said.

"While it's early in the year and there may be bumps in the road, we're confident in raising core operating profit growth guidance to 12%, from 10% previously," Creed said.

The company's China Division saw same-store-sales growth of 6 percent across the board, with KFC sales increasing 12 percent. Pizza Hut dipped 12 percent on the same measure.

The company's report comes after news broke earlier this week that a consortium backed by China's sovereign wealth fund is in talks to buy Yum Brands' mainland unit.

The China Investment Corp-backed group, which includes private equity firms KKR & Co and Baring Private Equity Asia, was conducting due diligence on the business, which could be valued at $7 billion to $8 billion, according to Bloomberg News.

Yum has more than 7,100 outlets in China and plans to open a further 600 this year, according to the fast food company's website. On Tuesday a Yum spokesperson said the company would not comment on rumors or speculation.

"This is a transformational year for our company as we remain on track to finalize the separation of our China business by year end," Creed said in the company's earnings statement. "We look forward to establishing two powerful, independent, focused growth companies dedicated to building on our brand strengths and rewarding our shareholders."

—CNBC staff contributed to this report.