Jollibee hikes stake in Tim Ho Wan holding firm
Despite the lingering coronavirus pandemic, fast-food giant Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC) is cementing its position as a food retailing powerhouse in Asia by jacking up its interest in the fund that controls Michelin star restaurant chain Tim Ho Wan from 60 percent to 85 percent.
Investing in the Asia-Pacific master franchisee of Tim Ho Wan, which offers authentic Hong Kong dim sum at affordable prices, is part of JFC’s global brand diversification and store expansion program.
Tim Ho Wan is the fifth Chinese restaurant brand in JFC’s global portfolio. It also owns and operates homegrown Chinese fast-food chain Chowking as well as Yonghe King and Zhuang Yuan in mainland China. It has also brought to the Philippines, American Chinese casual dining brand Panda Express through a franchising deal.
The group aims to “build as an important part of its portfolio a significant business serving Chinese cuisine in different parts of the world,” JFC told the Philippine Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
JFC, one the most valuable food retailing groups in Asia, is set to buy the 25-percent interest of Aragon Investments SPC in Titan Dining LP, a private equity fund and the ultimate holding entity of the Tim Ho Wan brand. This will bring its interest in the fund to 85 percent.
Based on the disclosure, JFC subsidiary Jollibee Worldwide Pte Ltd. (JWPL) will make the additional investment worth up to 45 million Singaporean dollars (P1.6 billion) in Titan, equivalent to 45 percent of the fund.
This is seen as an opportunity for JFC to acquire a substantial ownership in Tim Ho Wan’s master franchise in the Asia-Pacific region when the term of the fund ends in seven years—as specified under a purchase mechanism in its agreement with Titan.
To prepare for its greater role in the Tim Ho Wan network, JFC will operate as a franchisee of Tim Ho Wan in Shanghai, mainland China. The first-ever store in China was opened in Shanghai last Sept. 23, situated in the Jing’an Kerry Center, just a few minutes away from the famous Jing’an Temple, home to the largest jade Buddha in China.
JFC first invested in this brand in 2018. At that time, Tim Ho Wan Pte. Ltd. (THWPL) and affiliate Dim Sum Pte. Ltd. (DSPL), which owns and operates Tim Ho Wan stores in Singapore, also have franchisees in Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and the Philippines. There are 40 restaurant outlets under THWPL and DSPL, both company-owned and franchised stores.
Further developments are being planned for Tim Ho Wan in Asia-Pacific. —DORIS DUMLAO-ABADILLA INQ
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