Jollibee Foods in no rush for Highlands Coffee IPO


JOLLIBEE FOODS Corp. (JFC) believes its Vietnamese coffee chain Highlands Coffee can be separately listed on the market, but it still has a few steps to go, said the finance chief of the listed quick service restaurant operator.

“We’re not in a rush. But at the right time, we believe that this brand can be spun off as a separate listed company,” JFC Chief Financial Officer Richard Chong Woo Shin said in a virtual media briefing last week when asked about a possible initial public offering (IPO) for the coffee brand.

“That remains as part of our strategy, but again, only at the right valuation that maximizes for our shareholders and at the right time as well,” he added.

Mr. Shin said the group had not expanded the brand into many countries, thus “there’s a few steps ahead of IPO.”

He added that there is room for growth for Highlands Coffee, which has a presence in Vietnam and in the Philippines.

“We have just under around 700 stores of Highland Coffee. The majority is in Vietnam, its home base,” he said, adding that in the Philippines it has around 40 stores that are run by a franchisee.

JFC has a controlling interest in Highlands Coffee as it has a 60% stake in the SuperFoods Group, which owns the coffee brand.   

Recently, JFC announced that it would bring Tiong Bahru Bakery and Common Man Coffee Roasters to the Philippines under a joint venture with Food Collective Pte. Ltd. to bolster its existing brands. JFC also owns The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CBTL).

Mr. Shin said during the briefing that the newly announced brands would not eat into the market of existing coffee brands since these cater to a different segment.

“Common Man will be a different expression of coffee in that it’s closer to what I would call the more premium barista coffee. That is what it is famous for. Therefore, we will not be cannibalizing or competing, if you will, with Highlands Coffee or CBTL. In fact, it’s a new segment,” Mr. Shin said.   

For the first half, JFC’s attributable net income fell 13.9% to P4.39 billion versus P5.1 billion a year ago.

JFC’s store network surged by 5.1% as of June. The group has 6,617 stores worldwide, with 3,287 stores in the Philippines and 3,330 international stores across various brands.

As of Aug. 25, JFC shares were at P239.80 apiece, down P3.20 or 1.32% from its previous close of P243 the day prior. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

Neil Banzuelo

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