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    CKE Restaurants, Inc., today announced the opening of two Hardee’s® restaurants in Almaty, Kazakhstan. This marks the first of at least 12 Hardee’s restaurants to be opened in Kazakhstan over the next five years.

    Hardee’s is the first major western quick-service hamburger chain to open in the market.

    Americana Group S.A.K. operates these restaurants and is the second largest licensee in the CKE system with 215 Hardee’s restaurants throughout the Middle East and North Africa. CKE and the Americana Group have a successful 31-year relationship and plan continued growth in the Middle East and select Central and Western Asian countries.

    “We have a long and successful history with the Americana Group and are confident that they will continue to use their expertise and passion for Hardee’s as they expand in new and existing markets,” said Andrew F. Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. “Kazakhstan is a market with tremendous growth potential and we wanted to take this opportunity to employ a ‘first-mover’ strategy in our segment. In this regard, we are happy to introduce real, American-style charbroiled burgers to the market.”

    The Americana Group currently operates Hardee’s in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman where they have established the Hardee’s brand as the place to go for quality food, innovative menu items and superior hospitality.

    “The Americana Group has experienced great success with the Hardee’s brand in the Middle East and take pride in being the first hamburger QSR brand to enter the Kazakhstan market,” said Marzouk Al Kharafi, Chairman and Managing Director of Kuwait Food Company. “Hardee’s premium products and excellent service standards will deliver an ultimate dining experience to Kazakhstan consumers seeking an enhanced dining experience in a fast-food setting.”

    CKE Restaurants has strategic development plans to double its international presence to more than 700 restaurants within the next five years. Currently international units comprise approximately 12% of the CKE system with plans to grow to 20% in the next five years.
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