Jollibee looking to buy fast food brands in US


JOLLIBEE Foods Corp., the largest fast food chain in the Philippines, is looking to the United States market for major acquisitions of growing fast food brands.
At the company’s annual stockholders meeting held in Ortigas on Friday, JFC president and chief executive officer Tony Tan Caktiong said the company is currently on the lookout for potential acquisitions of growing fast food brands in the United States.

“The Philippines is still our main market. We have presence in China and the US, but we like to have more play in the US market. Probably, we are looking at certain acquisitions in the US market,” Tan Caktiong told reporters after the meeting.

He explained that the US market is one of the biggest consumer markets in the world together with China where it already has a relatively strong presence.

“We want to speed up our acquisitions there,” Tan Caktiong said, referring to the United States.

According to him, JFC is specifically looking at quick-service restaurant brands that are already growing, “not the ones that need turnaround.”

JFC chief financial officer Ysmael Baysa said the company has a healthy cash position should it have to make any major acquisitions.

“Our cash on hand is quite healthy. We still have good financial credit lines available so we can easily borrow money,” Baysa said. “At this point we don’t need to generate more capital.”

Currently, almost all brands that JFC carries — such as Jollibee, Red Ribbon, Greenwich and Chowking — are already present in the US market.

As for expansion in other overseas markets, the company is set to establish its footprint in Canada next year while it is still trying to “understand” the Indonesian market.

For this year, JFC allotted P6.3 billion in capital expenditures for new store openings and existing store renovations, both in the Philippines and abroad.

“We’re still behind spending. We have probably [spent]only around 60 percent. Usually, capex is skewed in the second half of the year,” Baysa said.

Of the targeted 300 new stores it plans to open, JFC has opened only 89 so far, Baysa said. Out of the entire target, 200 should be in the Philippines and 100 will be outside the country.

Baysa explained that new store openings usually take place aggressively during the latter part of the year, citing that in the month of December alone, the company can open as many as 100 stores.

It is Tan Caktiong’s last stockholders’ meeting as Jollibee CEO. He is set to be replaced as the food group’s chief by his brother Ernesto Tanmantiong, who is currently JFC’s chief operating officer. The handover is set to be made on July 1.



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