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UBS analyst initiates coverage on Burger King

NEW YORK (AP) -- A UBS analyst initiated coverage on Burger King Worldwide Inc. Friday, citing the fast-food chain's potential for growth overseas and its transition into a fully franchised model.

THE OPINION: Analyst David Palmer noted the growth potential for the company's franchised business model when low interest rates make financing cheap. The Miami-based chain has been moving toward an almost entirely franchised model, which cuts corporate overhead costs.

This April, Burger King also launched its biggest-ever menu revamp and ad campaign in the U.S. ahead of its return to the New York Stock Exchange in June. The company has also struck deals with franchise operators to expand in China and Russia.

Burger King had last traded as a public company between 2006 and 2010, before it was purchased and taken private by the investment firm 3G Capital.

Palmer noted that the brand's recovery remains "fragile," however, with sales at restaurants open at a least expected to be up about 2 percent in the third quarter.

His rating was "Neutral," with a price target of $15.50.

THE STOCK: Burger King's stock was down 24 cents at $13.97.