CKE Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: CKR – News), franchisor and operator of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants, and Americana Group S.A.K. will build 12 Carl’s Jr. restaurants in Kazakhstan over the next five years. The Americana Group, the second largest franchisee in the CKE system, operates 194 Hardee’s restaurants in the Middle East and will open its 200th location in the first quarter of 2009.

CKE Restaurants and the Americana Group have a successful 30-year relationship with plans for continued growth in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. As the most active developer in the CKE system, the Americana Group has averaged 24 new restaurant openings per year in the past three years with plans to open 27 Hardee’s restaurants in 2009.

“We have a successful history with the Americana Group and are confident that they will continue to demonstrate their knowledge, expertise and passion for the CKE brands as they expand in new and existing markets,” says Andrew F. Puzder, president and CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. “International expansion remains a key strategic focus at CKE.”

The Americana Group opened Hardee’s in Kuwait in 1980 and operates Hardee’s in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, and Oman. In 2008, Hardee’s will serve 48,000,000 meals to hungry guests across the Middle East and North Africa.

International units comprise approximately 10 percent of the CKE system with plans to grow to 20 percent by 2014.

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