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Domino's eyes slice of pizza market

By Aimee McClinchy

Friday 14th April 2000

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Gavin Cook AHEAD: Gavin Cook
The $US1.2 billion Domino's Pizza chain, attracted by the speedy rise of the Eagle Boys operation, is said to be in serious discussions with the chain over a takeover bid.

This week both parties denied talks had taken place but Domino's confirmed it was looking here and had not ruled out a buyout of a local player.

Pizza Hutt and other US players were also rumoured to be interested in Eagle Boys, with an announcement expected today.

Eagle Boys managing director Gavin Cook, who bought the master franchise for this country from the Australian company, said he could not comment.

"I'm not party to anything at this stage."

Mr Cook said Eagle Boys' local turnover was about $40 million for the franchised chain and that figure, as well as the number of outlets, meant Eagle Boys was now the leading pizza delivery chain.

"On a turnover basis we're in front of both competitors [Pizza Hut and Pizza Haven]."

Mr Cook said he planned to open another 12 stores this year to add to the 54 national outlets.

In 1999, Pizza Hut recorded a 10% fall in combined restaurant and delivery sales to $40 million, and has a total of 31 restaurants and 12 "delcos" - delivery and takeaway outlets.

Mr Cook said he was expecting steady growth for Eagle Boys this year: "We've seen double-digit real growth for the last two years but this has slowed."

Eagle Boys and Pizza Haven, with 34 outlets, have been credited with bringing cut-throat competition to the $100 million pizza category with prices falling from $20 for a single pizza to around $9 today.

Mr Cook renamed his South Island-based Stallones pizza chain Eagle Boys in 1994 after he acquired the rights to the name.

Domino Pizza's is a 6500-store chain with operations in 60 countries. It is listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in London.

Kiwi Cooperative Dairies last year secured a $55 million cheese contract to Domino's Mexican operation.

The Australian operation has the rights to expand into New Zealand, operations manager Fred Roberts said.



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