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Retail Food Group establishes JVs to secure Middle East expansion

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SOUTHPORT, Australia – Cafe, bakery and fast food owner Retail Food Group has set up joint ventures with two UAE-based business groups to expand its commercial coffee operations.

The SOUTHPORT, Australia-based company has announced the consummation of joint ventures with leading UAE-based businesses, the Al Hathboor Group and HKO Group, to accelerate Brand System expansion in the Gulf region, and to establish a World class coffee enterprise focused on realising significant untapped commercial coffee opportunities throughout the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region.

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RFG Managing Director Andre Nell said the joint ventures represented an important breakthrough in the Company’s long-term strategy to support continued diversification and global expansion via the establishment of coffee roasting and Brand System licensing hubs within the Middle East, Asia and Europe.

“The joint ventures provide RFG the opportunity to grow a substantial commercial coffee enterprise throughout the MENA region, whilst enabling the Group to more efficiently service and grow Brand System franchise networks in the Gulf”, he said.

Under the agreements, RFG will maintain a 50% interest in the joint ventures, whilst also retaining existing Middle East Brand System royalty and coffee income streams. The remaining 50% interest will be shared equally between the Company’s joint venture partners, who share RFG’s vision and possess the necessary resources, expertise and resolve to pursue the success of the ventures.

The Al Hathboor and HKO Groups each bring to the table significant complementary business operations, including in food and beverage, distribution, franchising and property, together with considerable local knowledge, resources, access and networks.

“We are honoured to partner with both the Al Hathboor Group and the HKO Group, and look forward to establishing a long and successful working relationship with them”, Mr Nell said.

HKO Group’s representative, Mr Hamad Khalaf Al Otaiba, noted that his group looked forward to working with RFG to fast-track the expansion of new regional franchise agreements and establish a World class coffee roasting and distribution hub.

“We are positive RFG’s Brand Systems will appeal to consumers in the region, and consider that the joint ventures represent an exciting opportunity to build upon the strong regional footprint already created by RFG, whilst also tapping into the ever growing demand for high quality coffee products. We look forward to working with RFG and the Al Hathboor Group to ensure the success of these ventures”, he said.

The Al Hathboor partners’ Mohammed Abdulla Al Hathboor noted that his group was also excited about the opportunities the joint ventures offer to leverage synergistic opportunity amongst its existing bakery and distribution operations, whilst also affording scope for establishment of a significant commercial coffee supply and Brand System licensing business.

“Within the Middle East, there is an increasing demand for quality in terms of products and service. I am confident that Retail Food Group’s brands, product offering, systems, and expertise will be received very positively in the Middle East marketplace, and we are excited by the opportunity these ventures present”, he said.

RFG also acknowledged Trade Investment Queensland for its support in connection with consummating these joint venture opportunities within the Middle East.