Thu, Dec 04, 2014 - Page 14 News List

Yummy to make over-the-counter debut by year end

LISTING BOOST:The casual dining firm said it had not been impacted by recent food scandals and is looking to expand its number of outlets in overseas markets

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

Yummy Town Holdings Corp (雅茗天地集團), which operates three casual dining and bubble tea brands worldwide, is scheduled to debut its shares on the nation’s over-the-counter market by the end of this year.

The company, which is registered in the Cayman Islands with paid-in capital of NT$270 million (US$8.66 million), is to start trading its shares on the GRETAI Securities Market on Dec. 24 at an initial offering price tentatively set at NT$48 per share.

“We hope the listing on Taiwan’s equity market will help build the company’s brand awareness and help us recruit more talent for further store expansion, which will require a lot of management staff,” company chairman Albert Wu (吳伯超) told a media briefing in Taipei yesterday.

Wu said recent food safety issues affecting the nation had not impacted the company, because it is careful to choose high-quality ingredients.

In October, a spate of cooking oil scandals damaged consumer confidence, which saw a widespread boycott of affected companies’ products, including those of Wei Chuan Foods Corp (味全食品工業).

With a government investigation and boycotts continuing until last month, weak sentiment weighed on food-and-beverage makers, as well as local restaurant chains.

While Yummy Town Holdings did not encounter much damage from the cooking oil scandals, Wu said that relatively cold weather in the east of China over the summer did have some impact on the company’s sales growth in the past quarter, as fewer people buy cold drinks when the weather is not as hot.

Yummy Town Holdings runs more than 602 restaurants and tea houses globally under three brands — R.B.T. Tea Cafe, Happy Lemon (快樂檸檬) and RBTea — with most of their outlets in China.

The company is set to expand its total number of outlets to 1,200 worldwide by the end of 2016, while opening more Happy Lemon outlets in overseas markets and introducing new brands in China, Wu said.

As a result, the company would need more management staff, as it plans to gradually build up and sustain the growth of its franchise model in the long run, Yummy Town Holdings spokesman Terry Teng (鄧仁榮) said.

Teng said the company plans to introduce the Happy Lemon brand to three to five overseas cities or regions a year in the future.

In addition, the company is teaming up with Japan’s Keio Group to introduce a new restaurant brand — The Spiceland (游香食樂) — in China, with the first outlet scheduled to start offering curry cuisine in Shanghai in the first quarter of next year, he said.

The company reported net profit of NT$51.12 million, or NT$2.14 per share, in the first three quarters of the year.

For the whole of last year, its profit was NT$69.08 million, or NT$3.07 per share.

Consolidated sales totaled NT$1.16 billion in the first nine months of the year after the firm registered full-year revenue of NT$1.5 billion last year.

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