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UPDATE 2-Popeyes fried chicken sandwiches fuel Restaurant Brands beat, Tim Hortons drags

Hortons drags@ (Adds shares, details)

Feb 10 (Reuters) - Restaurant Brands International Inc beat analysts' estimates for quarterly results on Monday, as the popularity of fried chicken sandwiches at Popeyes more than made up for an underwhelming performance at Burger King and Tim Hortons.

The Canadian company's U.S.-listed shares rose 4% in early trading, powered by the fried chicken chain's best growth since it was acquired in 2017.

Same-store sales at Popeyes jumped 34.4%, surging past expectation of a 12.34% growth, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Popeyes brought back its hugely popular chicken sandwich last November, months after its launch in August led to shortages at many of its outlets and triggered a "chicken war" with Chick-fil-A on social media among diners.

The strong demand also prompted rival McDonald's Corp to test its own chicken sandwich at some of its chains.

However, Tim Hortons remained a weak spot.

The coffee chain has struggled to attract diners amid intense competition from Starbucks Corp, Dunkin' and other third-wave coffee shops.

The chain even launched a plant-based breakfast sandwich with Beyond Meat sausages in Canada last year to attract more diners, but was forced to discontinue the product within months.

Comparable sales at Tim Hortons, Restaurant Brands' biggest business by revenue, declined 4.3% in the reported quarter. Analysts on average had expected a 2.44% drop.

At Burger King, where a plant-based burger supplied by Beyond Meat rival Impossible Foods is served, same-store sales growth of 2.8% also came in below expectations of 3.4%.

Net income attributable to Restaurant Brands shareholders rose to $165 million in the fourth quarter ended Dec.31, from $163 million a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned 75 cents per share, beating estimates of 73 cents.

Restaurant Brands, formed by the merger of Burger King and Tim Hortons in 2014 and backed by Brazilian private-equity group 3G Capital, said total revenue rose 6.8% to $1.48 billion. Analysts had expected revenue of $1.46 billion. (Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Sriraj Kalluvila)