IN LINE with Famous Brands' growth strategy to expand its presence in Africa, the group has awarded the Namibian master licence agreement for the newly relaunched Milky Lane brand to De Wet Oosthuizen.

Famous Brands acquired the franchise agreements, trademarks and intellectual property of Milky Lane in March last year. A new strategic direction for the brand has subsequently been implemented, including a new corporate identity and store design.

Darren Hele, chief operating officer for franchising at Famous Brands, said the group was confident Milky Lane stood to regain its former lustre in a sector that was showing good growth.

He said Mr Oosthuizen is a business partner who has a longstanding relationship with the group and has achieved strong success in the Namibian market.

Mr Oosthuizen began his relationship with Famous Brands in 1997, when he acquired a Steers franchise in Windhoek in Namibia. In 2003 he was awarded the Namibian master licence for the Steers and Debonairs Pizza brands, and in 2006 the licence for FishAways. He now owns four Steers restaurants, three Debonairs Pizza restaurants and two FishAways restaurants in the country.

There is one Milky Lane in Windhoek and a further restaurant will be opened in Swakopmund in August. Famous Brands said there was potential for at least 10 Milky Lane restaurants in the region.

Mr Hele said there were plans in place to expand the base of Steers, Debonairs Pizza and FishAways in Namibia by a further 13 stores, starting as early as August.

Famous Brands' total network in Namibia consists of 25 restaurants. In addition to Mr Oosthuizen's portfolio, the group has 13 Wimpy and two Mugg & Bean restaurants trading in the country.