Mekong Capital divests shares in restaurant chain

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Fund management firm Mekong Capital announced on Tuesday that the Mekong Enterprise Fund II had completed partial divestment of its stake in the Golden Gate Joint Stock Company.

The US$50 million private equity fund currently holds a 11.6 percent stake in the company, down from 14.9 percent, after it sold shares to a financial investor, Mekong Capital said. It declined to disclose the value of the sale.

"We are delighted with the performance of Golden Gate, which has grown from around five restaurants at the time we invested in April 2008," said Chris Freund, the firm's managing partner. "We saw this as an opportunity to realize some of our profits while maintaining a stake in the company."

Golden Gate originally established itself as the top mushroom hotpot restaurant company in Vietnam under the Ashima brand. Currently the company operates six Ashima restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

In 2009, the company launched a new product concept, the conveyor hotpot express restaurant named Kichi Kichi to enter the casual dining market segment. By October 2010, Golden Gate had expanded the concept to 22 outlets in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Singapore.

The company aims to have 50 company-owned restaurants in operation by the end of 2011.

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