NEW YORK — Yum Brands reported better-than-expected net income for its first quarter but the parent company of KFC warned that a new strain of bird flu in China is hurting the chicken chain’s efforts to recover from an earlier controversy over its suppliers.
The fast-food company, which also owns Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, stood by its full-year forecast for earnings per share to decline in the mid-single digits as a result of its issues in China. That would snap a streak of 11 years of double-digit growth.
Yum Brands Inc., which has 36,000 locations globally, has been reeling since a Chinese television report in late December said that some of KFC’s suppliers were giving chickens unapproved levels of antibiotics.
For the quarter, Yum said it earned $337 million, or 72 cents per share. That’s down from the $458 million, or 96 cents per share, a year before.
Excluding one-time items, the company said it earned 70 cents per share, above the 60 cents per share that analysts expected.
Revenue fell 8 percent to $2.54 billion, below the $2.56 billion Wall Street expected.