Mon, Apr 08, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Food, beverage firms plan expansion

BRANCHING OUT:A number of local operators said they have plans to increase their presence in new markets globally and are aiming to launch initial public offerings soon

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

A growing number of local food and beverage operators are planning to list on the local bourse to raise capital for building brand awareness and accelerate their pace of expansion.

The four-day Taipei International Chain and Franchise Exhibition closed yesterday at the Taipei World Trade Center, with various exhibitors showing interest in launching initial public offerings (IPO) in Taiwan in the near future.

La Kaffa International Co Ltd (六角國際事業), which operates bubble tea chain Chatime (日出茶太) in Taiwan, China, Southeast Asia, Australia and the US, expects to list on Taiwan’s GRETAI Securities Market in the second half of this year.

La Kaffa, which runs about 800 tea houses globally, debuted on the Emerging Stock Market (興櫃市場) in December at NT$168 per share. The company’s shares closed at NT$176 on Wednesday, stock exchange data showed.

Meanwhile, the company aims to accelerate its expansion in the US and Japan this year by cooperating with strong strategic partners.

“We hope to build up principles for franchising through our experience in the US,” La Kaffa president Eddie Chang (張國強) told the Taipei Times on Thursday.

The experience may further help the company create a set of standard operating procedures (SOP) to deal with its franchising business elsewhere in the world, Chang added.

La Kaffa has been authorizing a sole agent in the US, expecting the partner to help the company accelerate its expansion there over the next five years.

The company aims to raise its number of tea houses in the US to 300 in the next five years, from its current nine stores.

The company also has established a joint venture in Japan with a Japanese company, with La Kaffa holding a 70 percent stake. It expects to launch 50 tea houses in the new market in the next five years.

OCOCO International Co Ltd (億可國際飲食), which operates about 1,200 Coco Fresh Tea & Juice (都可茶飲) outlets worldwide, is also looking to accelerate its expansion in the US and Europe this year.

The bubble tea chain said it would this year start offering overseas franchise opportunities for interested individuals to extend its coverage, hoping to increase its stores to more than 1,500 by the end of this year.

OCOCO president Jonathan Lin (林家振) said he expects the company to list on a global major securities market next year, with the Taiwan Stock Exchange remaining one of his favorites.

“We hope that listing on a global major bourse could raise the company to the next level, making more outstanding overseas partners interested in cooperating with us,” Lin said.

Apart from the two bubble tea chains, Super-Mill Enterprises Co Ltd (超秦企業) — which operates more than 1,000 breakfast outlets under the brand My Warm Day (麥味登) — also plans to list on Taiwan’s GRETAI Securities Market in 2015.

Super-Mill vice president Allen Chou (卓靖倫) said the company is looking to expand My Warm Day to an all-day-restaurant brand in the next two years, while upgrading about 100 of its direct-selling stores.

The company has also encouraged its franchise stores to extend their operating hours to at least noon, to help carry out My Warm Day’s brand concept, Chou added.

Super-Mill, which also provides meat products to wholesalers, saw its revenue reach NT$2.6 billion (US$86.88 million) last year, showing growth for the 10th consecutive year, company statements showed. It expects sales to grow 8 percent this year to NT$2.8 billion.

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