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A SUBSIDIARY of Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC) has committed more funds to the private equity fund that owns the Tim Ho Wan brand and company-owned stores ahead of a planned expansion in China.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Wednesday, the food service company said Jollibee Worldwide Pte. Ltd. (JWPL) is committing additional capital to Titan Dining LP, which is increasing its fund size to S$350 million from S$250 million.

The additional funds will be used to fund store expansion plans, the completion of other projects, and the capital requirements of Tim Ho Wan.

“JWPL has a 90% participating interest in Titan. With the increase in fund size, JWPL’s total commitment to the fund shall amount to S$315,000,000,” JFC said.

At present, JFC’s joint venture with Titan has 11 restaurants in the People’s Republic of China, offering “delicious authentic Hong Kong dim sum at a great value for money.”

“JFC plans to aggressively expand Tim Ho Wan in Mainland China with a target of reaching 100 restaurant outlets within the next four years,” the firm said.

The committed funds follow JFC’s steady move to gain its stake in Titan, starting with its S$45-million investment in May 2018 to own a 45% participating interest in the private equity fund, which was the master franchisee of Tim Ho Wan in the Asia-Pacific region.

At that time, JFC said that by investing in the fund, it would have the opportunity to acquire substantial ownership of Tim Ho Wan’s master franchise via a purchase mechanism in the investment agreement.

It then set up a franchise operation of Tim Ho Wan in Shanghai, China, ahead of disclosing in October 2019 that JWPL increased its capital commitment to Titan to S$120 million. The move raised its participating interest to 60%.

“Titan also expanded its assets by acquiring at about this time the Tim Ho Wan brand and trademarks,” JFC said.

In October 2020, JFC’s participating interest in Titan increased to 85% after JWPL bought the 25% participating interest of another investor for S$36.3 million. JFC acquired in August 2021 the remaining 15% of other investors in Titan.

On Nov. 1, 2021, JWPL entered into an amended limited partnership agreement with Titan to increase the fund size to S$250 million. Other investors joined the fund with a 10% participating interest in Titan. JWPL’s total commitment increased to S$225 million or 90% of the increased fund size and total commitments.

“JFC aims to build as an important part of its portfolio a significant business serving Chinese cuisine in different parts of the world,” the listed company said.

It said Tim Ho Wan operates 67 outlets in Asia, which are mostly franchised stores, including seven in the Philippines.

In a separate press release, JFC listed its planned Jollibee store openings in more places in Canada after opening three stores in Canada this year alone. It is set to open at Strawberry Hills Shopping Centre in Surrey and Cambie Street in Vancouver, British Columbia by the end of the year.

“We opened our first store in Canada in Winnipeg in December 2016. Now we have 24 stores in Canada spread across the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan,” JFC President and Chief Executive Officer Ernesto Tanmantiong said in a press release on Wednesday.

“We remain grateful for the support of Canadian communities and its government as we continue to expand in the country,” Mr. Tanmantiong added.

JFC said that the store openings in Canada are part of its aggressive expansion plan in North America, “in line with its mission to become one of the top five restaurant companies in the world.”

At the stock market on Wednesday, JFC shares lost 60 centavos or 0.26% to P228.40 apiece. — Justine Irish D. Tabile