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Philippines' Jollibee invests $33.5m in Tim Ho Wan franchiser

Fast-food leader's net income rises 17.3% in first quarter from a year ago

Jollibee aims to become a global company by expanding in Southeast Asia, China and the U.S.   © Reuters

MANILA -- Philippine fast-food leader Jollibee Foods is investing up to 45 million Singapore dollars ($33.5 million) in a fund that is poised to become the new master franchise holder of Tim Ho Wan, a popular dim sum chain.

Jollibee Worldwide, a unit of Jollibee Foods, said Wednesday it will pump that amount into Titan Dining, a S$100 million private equity fund, which has struck a binding agreement for the acquisition of Tim Ho Wan (THWPL) and affiliate Dim Sum, which owns and runs the brand in the city-state.

THWPL holds an exclusive and long-term master franchise to operate the dim sum joint in the region, except in Hong Kong where it was founded in 2009.

Jollibee said the deal allows it to buy a substantial stake in Tim Ho Wan's master franchise when the term of the fund lapses in seven years. Two of the 45 Tim Ho Wan restaurants in Hong Kong have each been awarded a Michelin star. Being associated to the brand will boost Jollibee's international profile.

Jollibee, a home-grown brand which out-sells Western fast-food brands like McDonald's and KFC in the Philippines, aims to become a global company by expanding in Southeast Asia, China and the U.S. Early this year, it took control over Smashburger, a Colorado-based burger joint.

Jollibee, which owns several brands and restaurant franchises apart from its namesake burger, pasta and fried chicken chain, on Wednesday said net income rose 17.3% to 1.8 billion pesos ($3.47 million) in the first quarter from a year ago as total sales rose 19.3% to 46 billion pesos due to aggressive store openings. 

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