Unstoppable Growth: Jollibee Now Fully Owns Tim Ho Wan, and is Set to Open 100 Stores in China - Lifestyle Asia

Tony Tan Caktiong’s empire continues to expand as it buys out the rest of the investors of the HK dim sum restaurant.

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After incurring a net loss of about P11.5 billion in 2020, Jollibee Food Corporation (JFC) has started turning things around in a big way this year. It went back to black in the first quarter of 2021, and revenues grew by 13.7 percent in the next quarter.

But one big indicator that it was doing much better came about four days ago when it was announced that JFC will buy the shares of the remaining partners of Titan Dining LP. This is the private equity fund, which is the master franchisee and owner of the Tim Ho Wan brand in the Asia Pacific region.

JFC’s Jollibee Worldwide PTe. LTD. (JWPL) already owns 85 percent in the fund, but will shell out SG$ 71.56 million to buy out the remaining 15 percent from the other Titan investors.

Year-on-year growth

In May 2018, JFC spent around SG$ 45 million to own 45 percent participating interest in Titan Dining.

“JFC stated at that time that by investing in the fund, it would have the opportunity to acquire a substantial ownership of Tim Ho Wan’s master franchise in the Asia’s Pacific region through a purchase mechanism provided for in the investment agreement,” the statement read. “To prepare for this eventuality, JFC would open a franchise operation of Tim Ho Wan in Shanghai, People’s Republic of China (PRC).”

It would fully utilize this mechanism in the succeeding years. JWPL’s capital commitment, JFC disclosed in October 2019, increased to SG$ 120 million, upping its participating interest to 60 percent. This also increased the overall Titan Dining fund to SG$ 200 million. The fund also expanded its assets by acquiring at about this time the Tim Ho Wan brand and trademark.

A year later, in the middle of the pandemic, JFC’s participating interest grew even further, to 85 percent. This after JWPL purchased the 25 percent participating interest of another investor in the fund for SG$ 36.3 million.

Targeting China

A month before that 2020 growth, JFC and Titan Dining opened a Tim Ho Wan in Shanghai, its first in Mainland China. That joint venture increased to three in the country, with the latest branch opening last month.

“JFC plans to aggressively expand Tom Ho Wan in Mainland China with a target of reaching 100 restaurant outlets within the next four years,” the statement reveals.

A total of 53 Tim Ho Wan outlets are operating in Asia, mostly franchised, with 12 in Singapore, 12 in Taiwan, seven in the Philippines, and six in Hong Kong.

“JFC aims to build as an important part of its portfolio a significant business serving Chinese cuisine in different parts of the world,” the statement continues. Apart from Tim Ho Wan, JFC also has Chowking, which has 607 stores worldwide.    

Other Chinese cuisine stores in the JFC portfolio include: Yonghe King, a Taiwanese food-inspired restaurant chain in China, which is famous for its freshly prepared soya milk (364 stores); Hong Zhuang Yuan, a full-service restaurant chain in Beijing, PRC which serves congee and other hot dishes (35 stores); and Panda Express in the Philippines (3 stores), the chain from the US.

Continues expansion

With a network of 5,816 stores spread over 17 brands and 33 countries, JFC is one of the largest food service companies in Asia. A majority chunk of this number, of course, is in the Philippines which has about 3,192 outlets of Jollibee, Chowking, Greenwich, Red Ribbon, Mang Inasal, Burger King, and Panda Express.

Its international locations, which number 2,624 stores, are expected to grow even more, particularly, as mentioned earlier, in Mainland China. JFC already has a foothold in many other countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Canada, the UK, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, UAE, with a high concentration of stores in the US and Vietnam.

The biggest, full acquisitions by JFC before this were of Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in 2019, and Smashburger in 2018.

Banner Photo from @TimHoWanPH on IG

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