HOMEGROWN food giant Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC) has established a joint venture (JV) firm with the owner and operator of Panda Express restaurants, as it prepares for the opening of the brand’s first store in the country.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange Monday, JFC said it has completed the incorporation of JBPX Foods, Inc., its joint venture firm with Panda Restaurant Group, Inc. (Panda). The company received its certificate of incorporation from the Securities and Exchange Commission last Friday.

The JV firm will be equally owned by JFC and Panda, and will have an authorized capital stock of $5 million. It will have its own management team supported by JFC.

JFC earlier said that they plan to develop five Panda Express stores in Metro Manila during the initial phase of their partnership.

Panda describes itself as the largest family-owned and -operated Chinese American restaurant group in the United States. It has expanded to more than 2,100 locations since it was founded in Pasadena, California in 1973, with branches in Puerto Rico, Guam, Guatemala, El Salvador, Aruba, Mexico, Canada, Dubai, Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Russia.

Aside from Panda Express, the company also operates Panda Inn and Hibachi-San.

This will be added to JFC’s existing portfolio of brands, including its own Chinese fastfood chain Chowking. Its other brands include Jollibee, Greenwich, Red Ribbon, Mang Inasal, Burger King, PHO 24, Highlands Coffee, Hard Rock Cafe, and Smashburger.

JFC’s net income attributable to the parent fell 14.7% in the first quarter of 2019 to P1.54 billion, weighed down by the consolidation of its recently acquired US firm Smashburger. This came amid a 14.1% increase in revenues to P40.35 billion, after systemwide sales of P54.28 billion, 18.1% higher year on year.

The company ended the first quarter with 4,543 stores. It will be spending P17.2 billion in capital expenditures to finance its construction of an additional 500 stores globally.

Shares in JFC dropped 1.05% or P3 to close at P282 each at the stock exchange on Monday. — Arra B. Francia