The Philippine Star

Jollibee eyes Mexican food brand in the US


Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC) is looking at acquiring a Mexican food brand in the US as it continues to explore opportunit­ies to expand around the globe.

“We are looking at either acquiring or working with a group for a joint venture,” JFC chairman Tony Tan Caktiong said in a press conference Friday.

“There are already ongoing discussion­s but the company cannot disclose anything yet,” said JFC chief executive Ernesto Tanmantion­g.

JFC hopes to be able to finalize a deal this year.

The company continues to keep its eyes open for new opportunit­ies as it plans to make its brands global.

JFC expects historical growth in revenues and profit this year and in the coming years as it expressed optimism it would achieve its goal of becoming one of the top five restaurant companies in the world.

“Since the start of Jollibee 40 years ago, I have always dreamt it to be the largest food company in the world,” Tan Caktiong said.

The company is pouring in P12 billion in capital expenditur­es this year, 33.3 percent higher compared to 2017 as it plans to build 500 stores worldwide, of which up to 300 will be in the Philippine­s.

Outside of the Philippine­s, the biggest number of stores will be in Vietnam and China.

Of the P12 billion, the company will spend P7 billion for new stores and renovation­s and P5 billion for commissary investment­s.

Last year, JFC posted system wide sales of P171.8 billion in 2017, up 15.2 percent from the previous year. Systemwide sales reached P46 billion in the first quarter, up 19.3 percent versus last year.

Net income reached P7.1 billion last year, up 15.3 percent while first quarter earnings rose 17.3 percent to P1.8 billion.

As of end May, the JFC Group had 4,239 stores in the Philippine­s and abroad comprising of 1,297 Jollibee stores; 586 Chowking; 276 Greenwich; 464 Red Ribbon; 504 Mang Inasal; 96 Burger King; 310 Yonghe King; 42 Hong Zhuang Yuan; 15 Dunkin Donut; 262 Highlands Coffee; 30 Pho24; Hard Rock Café (8) and 349 Smashburge­r.

The domestic store network grew 8.8 percent – the highest organic store growth in an at least five years. JFC’s domestic business also achieved historic store milestones – Jollibee opened its 1,000th store, Chowking its 500th store and Red Ribbon its 400th store.

Sales of the foreign business, meanwhile, grew 23.3 percent and all regions – South Asia, North America and Middle East generated strong and better profit growth in 2017 compared to the previous year.

JFC is optimistic about the business environmen­t in the Philippine­s despite rising business costs.

“The peso depreciati­on while increasing costs in the Philippine­s provided gains in sales and profit from JFC’s businesses abroad. The business had shown resilience in the past and we expect it to continue to do so,” Tanmantion­g said.

Regarding the issue of its contractua­l workers, officials said there are no more contractua­l employees in compliance with the order of the Duterte administra­tion.

“We are working closely with the Department of Labor and Employment,” Tan Caktiong said.

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