Burger King Worldwide Inc. today announced that it has entered into a multi-country master franchise joint venture agreement with BEBOCA Ltd. in Central America.

BEBOCA is a longtime BK franchisee and currently owns and operates 48 restaurants in Costa Rica and Panama.

Under the terms of the new agreement, Burger King and BEBOCA will establish a new entity — BK Centro America. The new joint venture will acquire the master franchise rights for the 178 units in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama and will manage the development of the brand in these markets. The multi-country joint venture is a first of its kind for the Burger King brand worldwide.

The company will provide operations, supply chain, procurement and marketing for franchisees in Central America and will have new development exclusivity in these markets.

"Central America's middle class continues to expand rapidly and this partnership will enhance our ability to grow aggressively and ensure we are the preferred choice among consumers in the region," said Jose Tomas, president, Latin America and the Caribbean, Burger King Worldwide Inc.

"I am thrilled to be part of this exciting new venture with Burger King Worldwide Inc., and I am confident these markets offer great potential for aggressive growth. The new company will expand the region by focusing on delivering exceptional guest service and great-tasting food" added Rafael Belloso, president and CEO of BK Centro America.

Jose Tomas, president, Latin America and the Caribbean and Jonathan Weisleder, finance and business development director, Latin America and the Caribbean, will join the board of directors of BK Centro America. In 2012, BKW introduced joint ventures in South Africa, Russia and China and in 2011, in Brazil. The China deal, inked in June, marked the largest multi-unit development deal in Burger King's 58-year history.

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