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Business

Jollibee to list local unit on Vietnam Stock Exchange

MANILA -- Jollibee Foods on Monday said it plans to list its Vietnamese subsidiary by July 2019, as the Philippine fast-food giant builds up its overseas business.

Jollibee and its partner Viet Thai International Joint Stock Co. agreed on an initial public offering for Superfoods Group, and eventually list it on the Vietnam Stock Exchange, the merged platform of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh stock exchanges.

The move would be an encouragement for Vietnam, one of the fastest growing economies in the region as it pushes reforms to lure more foreign investment. Superfoods' listing marks the return of a Southeast Asian-led (Vietnamese excluded) company in the Vietnam stock market after the delisting of Malaysia's Interfood Shareholding Company in 2013. There are seven foreign companies currently listed on Vietnamese bourses, five from Taiwan and two from South Korea.

The size of the Superfoods IPO will be determined based on the capital required to grow the business, Jollibee told the Philippine Stock Exchange, where it is listed.

Superfoods runs 159 outlets of Highlands Coffee chain, 33 of Pho 24 and three Hard Rock Cafe shops across Southeast Asia, mainly in Vietnam, as well as in Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and Australia.

Superfoods, which has annual sales of $55 million, is among the fastest-growing joint ventures that Jollibee is involved in. It posted a 36% growth in the first nine months of 2016.

Superfoods Chief Executive Thai Phi Diep said the IPO will provide additional capital for the company's expansion in "other parts of Asian and in other key cities in the world."

Jollibee Chairman and Founder Tony Tan Caktiong, for his part, was optimistic about the IPO, saying Vietnam is Jollibee's fastest growing market, with annual sales of $25 million and current sales growth of 50% from a year ago.

Jollibee runs over 3,200 outlets through various brands in Southeast Asia, China, and the U.S. It has 80 Jollibee branches in Vietnam. Apart from its partnership with Viet Thai, the company also has joint ventures with China's 12 Hotpot and Smashburger of the U.S.

Jollibee and Viet Thai, as part of their IPO deal, agreed to adjust the ownership of Superfoods so that Jollibee will hold 60% from a 50-50 joint venture. Jollibee will also fold Superfoods into its financial consolidation.

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