Sat, Nov 17, 2012 - Page 13 News List

China’s Fosun Group to acquire stake in bakery

SWEET DEAL:Fosun Group intends to support the bakery’s entry into the Chinese tourism market by leveraging its experience and commercial network

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

China’s Fosun Group (復星集團) on Thursday announced plans to spend NT$360 million (US$12.3 million) to acquire a 20 percent stake in Taiwan’s Vigor Kobo (維格餅家), a bakery that focuses on traditional cakes and pastries.

The announcement came after the Investment Commission last month gave the green light to Fosun’s application to invest in Vigor Kobo through Laxton Investments Ltd, its subsidiary in Hong Kong, making it the first Chinese company allowed to invest in Taiwan’s food sector.

With the new funds, Vigor Kobo — well known internationally for its pineapple cakes — plans to trade its shares on the Emerging Stock Market (興櫃市場) next month, before it goes public on the over-the-counter GRETAI Securities Market to become the first listed enterprise in Taiwan with pineapple cakes as its core product.

During an investment pact signing ceremony in Taipei on Thursday, Fosun vice chairman Liang Xinjun (梁信軍) said the two parties would work together to launch and sell souvenirs featuring Shanghai-styled snacks, according to a statement issued by the Chinese firm.

“The investment will create a win-win situation for cooperation between Taiwanese and Chinese private enterprises,” Liang said.

The two parties plan to launch their first flagship store in Shanghai next month, Vigor Kobo chairman Sun Kuo-hua (孫國華) said.

Fosun will support Vigor Kobo’s entry into the Chinese tourism market by leveraging its thorough understanding, as well as experience and commercial network in the Chinese market, the company said in a statement.

Vigor Kobo aims to to replicate its experience in the Taiwanese pineapple cake business at famous cultural scenic spots in Shanghai, the companies said in the statement.

The Taiwanese firm has created a niche that integrates the tourism and food industries, and has successfully rebranded the traditional cakes and pastries as popular and “specialty souvenirs” among foreign tourists.

This has helped the company achieve exponential growth in turnover each year from tens of millions NT dollars before 2008 to more than NT$1 billion in the first 10 months of this year, company data showed.

“Fosun can help Vigor expand in China through its sales channel in various tourist attractions there,” Lawrence Chang (張平沼), chairman of the Taipei-based General Chamber of Commerce, said yesterday.

“The government can help the bakery firm boost capacity to meet surging demand,” he said.

To support Vigor and other firms, the government can lend a hand by granting favorable taxation terms and securing land for manufacturing facilities, Chang said.

Additional reporting by Crystal Hsu

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