Jollibee to invest $25 million in Vietnam, Hong Kong venture

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Jollibee Foods Corp., through a unit, signed an agreement with Viet Thai International Joint Stock Company to set up a venture that will own and operate restaurants in Vietnam, Hong Kong, Macau and Southern China, it said in a statement to the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Jollibee Worldwide Pte. Ltd., a unit of the Philippines' largest restaurant operator, plans to invest $25 million for 49 percent of the venture in Vietnam and 60 percent of the venture in Hong Kong. Part of the investment will fund the venture's purchase of an additional restaurant chain, Jollibee said.

Viet Thai, owner and operator of the Highlands Coffee, Hard Rock Cafe and other food outlets in Vietnam, will own the remaining stakes of the joint venture's companies in Vietnam and Hong Kong, Jollibee said.

Viet Thai and its related parties will receive a $35 million loan to be repaid in 2016 at an interest of 5 percent a year, Jollibee said. Viet Thai's combined restaurant businesses had $1.7 million in Ebitda last year on $30.2 million of sales, it said.

Jollibee said part of its investments in the Viet Thai venture will be used to fund the acquisition of an additional restaurant chain. The purchase will give the venture a total of 139 stores for all its brands, including 118 in Vietnam and 21 in five other countries, it said.

Jollibee owns six restaurant brands in the Philippines with a combined network of 1,931 stores in the Southeast Asian nation. The company also has 407 stores overseas, half of which are in China.

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