UK coffee chain Caffè Nero plans to launch itself on to the international stage within the next six months, it revealed last week.
Nero chairman Gerry Ford said the company was in talks with a number of potential partners and expected to sign a deal before the end of its current financial year in May 2006.
"The international market is the most exciting prospect for us at the moment," Ford said. "It is where the strongest growth is. We're certain our brand will work, it's just a question of finding the right partners."
Ford expects to sign a franchise agreement in the Middle East first, but is also considering the possibility of expansion through a joint venture with a local business in northern Europe.
Caffè Nero has 250 UK stores and expects to have a further 10 open by its year end.
The chain also revealed another strong set of results, with turnover in the six months to 30 November up 32% to £43.3m (from £32.8m in 2004). Pre-tax profit jumped 384% to £3.5m (from £700,000 in 2004).
Like-for-like store sales rose 6% in December and January, compared with the same period last year, and Ford predicted sales growth of 4.5% for the remainder of the year.