Multibrand restaurant chain operator Kuya J Group Holding Inc. is planning to debut on the local stock market by 2020, riding on the theme of rising consumer affluence in the country.
The food retailing group, however, has ruled out a backdoor-listing entry even if the same group had already acquired a listed shell company, Pacifica Inc., at the Philippine Stock Exchange.
“The brand is big already. It deserves an IPO (initial public offering),” Kuya J Group chair Lowell Yu said in an interview with Inquirer last week at the sidelines of the launch of Kuya J’s new franchising program.
Yu was referring to the group’s flagship brand, fast-growing Filipino restaurant chain Kuya J, which now has 106 branches. In less than three years, Kuya J added over 100 stores under the auspices of Yu’s group.
Kuya J Group also owns and operates Isa Sugbu Seafood City, Tsay Cheng Chinese Chusine, Majestic and Grand Convention Centre of Cebu. Most recently, Kuya J Holdings signed a deal to be the Philippine master franchise holder for American fast-food chain Popeyes.
Next year, Yu said Kuya J Group would start preparing for the IPO. By 2020, the flagship brand Kuya J is expected to have 200 stores, its growth seen accelerated by a new franchising program bundled with in-house financing that could cover 70 percent of the cost.
For Popeyes, the commitment is to expand the local network to 400 stores but there’s no definite timetable yet for this.
Asked whether capital raising for Kuya J Group through private equity placement was an option, Yu said: “There has been interest extended to us but we’re looking at the IPO as the first to open to the public, not a private placement.”
Other publicly listed food retailing plays in the local stock exchange are Jollibee Foods Corp., Max’s Group Inc. and Shakey’s Asia Pizza Ventures Inc.
“As to Pacifica, we have not finalized plans. We are currently evaluating the direction,” Yu said.
Aside from his restaurant businesses, Yu also controls Landers membership shopping chain. He also has a boutique property development business outside leading mass housing developer 8990 Holdings, which is chaired by his father, Luis Yu.
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