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Jollibee hopes to topple Japan firm as Asia’s largest

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Jollibee hopes to topple Japan firm as Asia’s largest

/ 03:56 AM November 18, 2013

Jollibee Foods Corp. hopes to topple Japan’s Zensho Holdings Co. Ltd. in two years to become Asia’s largest restaurant and fast-food company, a top executive of the Philippine fast-food giant said last week.

The target of Jollibee, whose homegrown chain gained popularity selling American fast-food staples adjusted to local tastes, to dominate the region comes faster than initially thought, and may be achieved even without major acquisitions, Jollibee chief financial officer Ysmael Baysa told reporters.

“If we enter a new market or make another acquisition, our chances [of becoming the top fast-food company] are even bigger,” Baysa said at the sidelines of the Asia CEO Awards last week.

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Established in the 1970s, Jollibee now has a global network of 2,671 stores, mainly in the Philippines and China. It is Asia’s second-biggest fast food/restaurant company, according to Baysa, who cited data from Euromonitor International.

The biggest is still Zensho, with 4,700 restaurants, mainly through the Sukiya chain, which sells gyudon or beef rice bowls.

“Jollibee can be the biggest” in all of Asia, Baysa said. It can [happen] “in the next two years.”

The company is now focusing on the expansion of its organic stores, Baysa said.

Jollibee is on track to open about 100 stores in the Philippines this year, he said. In 2014, it will likely exceed that expansion count.

Despite mounting competition, sales in the Philippines grew by 10.5 percent in the last quarter. But its units outside the country have been growing faster, he noted.

We are growing by a double-digit pace everywhere, Baysa said.

In the third quarter, total sales of foreign businesses were up by 22.1 percent.

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Jollibee is keen on expanding via acquisitions. But Baysa noted this would be on a smaller scale moving forward, given its dominant position.

“Our acquisitions most likely will not be as frequent as before,” Baysa said. “We have already established our foundation in China—we have three brands [in China] plus one joint venture. And we are already in the largest categories in the Philippines.”

The company’s brands in the Philippines include the Greenwich pizza chain, grilled chicken chain Mang Inasal, Burger King and Chinese-themed Chowking. In China, it operates Yonghe King, Hong Zhuang Yuan and San Pin Wang.

It said revenues during the period rose by 12.3 percent to P57.83 billion, while profit was up 26.7 percent to P3.12 billion.—Miguel R. Camus

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TAGS: Fast food, food, Japan, jollibee, Philippines, restaurants food firms, Zensho
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