By James A. Loyola
Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC), the largest Asian food service company, is investing SG$45 million (P1.74 billion) to acquire a 45 percent stake in the Asia Pacific franchise of Michelin-star dim sum restaurant chain Tim Ho Wan.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Jollibee said that its wholly-owned subsidiary Jollibee Worldwide Pte. Ltd. shall invest up to SG$45 million in Titan Dining LP.
Titan is a private equity fund that has executed a binding agreement for the acquisition of 100 percent of the Asia Pacific master franchise holder of the Tim Ho Wan brand, Tim Ho Wan Pte. Ltd. (THWPL), and its affiliate Dim Sum Pte. Ltd. (DSPL), which owns and operates Tim Ho Wan stores in Singapore.
Titan has a fund size of SG$100 million, with JFC’s planned investment constituting 45 percent of the total committed investments in Titan, and the balance coming from other investors.
“This agreement provides JFC the opportunity 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 7 years, through a purchase mechanism that is provided for in the agreement with Titan Dining LP),” Jollibee said.
It added that, “to prepare for this eventuality, JFC will operate as a franchisee of Tim Ho Wan in Shanghai, People’s Republic of China (PRC).”
JFC Chairman Tony Tan Caktiong said “this investment gives JFC the opportunity to have a significant interest in the Tim Ho Wan franchise in the long term and will bring very healthy financial returns to JFC.”
THWPL holds the exclusive long-term master franchise to operate Tim Ho Wan food and beverage business within the Asia Pacific region (excluding Hong Kong).
Aside from DSPL in Singapore, THWPL also has franchisees in Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, and the Philippines, with further development planned in the Asia Pacific region.
There are 40 restaurant outlets under THWPL and DSPL, both company-owned and franchised stores.
Titan is managed by Titan Dining Partners Ltd., consisting of individuals with extensive experience in the food and beverage sector in the Asia Pacific region. JFC will sit in the Investment Committee of Titan.
Titan may eventually add other brands in the food service sector to its portfolio, with the objective to grow strong Asia Pacific food service brands across multiple geographies and markets, and to bring strong global food service brands to Asia Pacific.
Tim Ho Wan is a Michelin-star dim sum restaurant chain which originated in Hong Kong in 2009. It has been dubbed as the world’s most affordable Michelin-star restaurant.
Its restaurants are typically full-packed with long waiting line at lunch and dinner. In April, 2018, Tim Ho Wan was rated by CNN as offering the Best Value among Hong Kong’s best dim sum restaurants.