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Jollibee Foods, Highlands Coffee partner to list in Vietnam by 2019

FAST-FOOD firm Jollibee Foods Corp. on Monday said it will take its joint venture with Vietnamese brand Highlands Coffee public in Vietnam by 2019.

Jollibee, a company that corners most of the market for fast-food joints in the Philippines, said it signed an agreement with Viet Thai International Joint Stock Co. to take its joint-venture firm Superfoods Group to list at the Vietnam Stock Exchange on or before July 2019.

The company did not specify how much it will raise from the initial public offering (IPO). Superfoods owns and operates brands, such as Highlands Coffee and Pho 24, and is a franchisee of Hard Rock Café.

Highlands Coffee has 159 outlets, Pho 24 has 33 stores, while Hard Rock Café has three outlets in Macau, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

Superfoods has annual sales of $55 million. It is one of the fastest-growing joint-venture businesses of Jollibee, with revenues up 36 percent for the first nine months of the year. Highlands Coffee has a growth rate of 78 percent from last year.

“Our fastest-growing business in terms of country is Vietnam. This reflects the vibrancy and potential of the economy and the strong performance of our joint-venture business.

I am confident that with the strong capability of our partner and the support of our organization in the Philippines, we will have a truly significant business in Vietnam,” Jollibee Chairman Tony Tan Caktiong said in a statement.

“We look forward to making Highlands Coffee and Pho 24 true national champion brands of Vietnam. Our planned IPO will raise capital to enable us to expand these two brands broadly in Vietnam, in other parts of Asia and in other key cities in the world.

Our joint effort with the people of Jollibee Foods Corp. will make this possible,” Superfoods CEO and founder of Highlands Coffee Thai Phi Diep said.

As part of the agreement to bring Superfoods public, Jollibee will own 60 percent of the joint venture, up from the previous 50 percent, while its Vietnamese counterpart will own the remaining 40 percent.

“The number of shares to be sold at the time of the IPO and the price per share will be determined by that time based on the capitalization required to significantly grow the business and the fair value of the business,” the company said.

As a result of this transaction, Jollibee will now include the Superfoods in its financial consolidation. JSF Investments Pte. Ltd., the Jollibee unit involved in the deal, agreed to provide a $30-million loan to its partner Viet Thai.

Superfoods aims to offer Asian consumers coffee and café experience at affordable prices through the Highlands Coffee shops and packaged products.

It also aims to serve consumers in Asia and key cities in the world high-quality and healthy Vietnamese food at affordable prices through the Pho 24 brand, the companies said.

Jollibee also owns a 48-percent interest in joint ventures for 12 Hotpot in China with 16 branches and 40-percent interest in Smashburger with 378 outlets, mostly in the US.

These joint ventures, together with the Superfoods’s 200 stores, have a total of 594 stores worldwide, but currently are not included in Jollibee’s consolidated store count of more than 3,200 worldwide, with most stores operating in the Philippines.

Jollibee owns a 100-percent stake in the company that operates Jollibee fast-food chain in Vietnam.

There are 80 Jollibee outlets in Vietnam with an annual sales of $25 million, 50 percent higher in 2016 over 2015.