Yum! Brands, the owner KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, has raised its growth forecast for its 2011 earnings on the back of its leading position in China and a strong performance in other emerging foreign markets. The group raised its growth forecast for 2011 earnings per share to a year-over-year increase of 13%, up from an original projection of 12%, which would see profit total at least $2.85 per share, excluding special items. The group is expected to announce that it plans to open 1,500 new locations in foreign markets during 2012. The overseas success comes while the group’s US operation continues to struggle. It plans to refranchise 400 locations in the US, which the company expects to generate about $200m in proceeds. David C. Novak, chairman and chief executive of Yum!, said: “We are well-positioned for another strong year in 2012, given our robust international new-unit development, innovative marketing and operating plans, as well as the opportunity to dramatically improve US performance.”