Mon, Aug 05, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Wowprime plans to expand brand abroad

VALUED PARTNERS:On the back of recent expansion in Thailand, the chain is seeking to grow its Asia presence carefully by cooperating only with listed operators abroad

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

Restaurant chain operator Wowprime Corp (王品集團) aims to have its vegetarian restaurant brand Sufood (舒果) licensed in Indonesia and Singapore by the end of the year in an effort to accelerate its overseas expansion plan, a company executive said.

The move would make Sufood — which specializes in Milanese vegetarian cuisine — Wowprime’s second brand to be authorized in a country outside the Greater China region, after the group licensed its Tokiya (陶板屋) restaurant chain to a Thailand-based company in 2010.

“We hope to make the breakthrough in the second half of this year,” Wowprime chairman Steve Day (戴勝益) told reporters on the sidelines of a group outdoor walking event on Saturday.

The company is discussing licensing the Sufood brand with various Singaporean and Indonesian counterparts, Day said.

Wowprime aims to form joint ventures with these overseas companies to develop the brand in their respective markets if the discussions go well.

However, the restaurant group would only own up to 30 percent stake in each venture, Day said, adding that it would only approve listed food and beverage companies to license its brand.

Thailand’s Kin Kab Tan Co Ltd has already launched two Tokiya outlets in Bangkok under Wowprime’s joint venture strategy.

With an eye on its long-term plan to expand its number of outlets worldwide to 1,000 by 2020 and to 10,000 by 2030, Wowprime — which currently operates 14 restaurant chains with about 310 outlets in Taiwan and China — is to accelerate the pace of overseas brand authorization.

Despite this long-range view, the group is cutting its target for total number of restaurants by the end of the year from 390 to 370 on the impact of a slowdown in personnel training for some of the brands, primarily in China.

However, Wowprime maintained its goal of increasing consolidated revenue by more than 20 percent from the NT$12.31 billion (US$408.63 million) it posted last year to NT$15 billion this year, with profitability expected to at least equal the level recorded in the previous year, Day said.

Wowprime is set to maintain its annual profitability at 10.8 percent, with its profitability rate in the first half of the year standing at 10 percent, he said.

The group reported a net profit of NT$1.05 billion, or NT$15.69 per share during the first six months its stock exchange filing showed.

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