By Arra B. Francia, Reporter

SHAKEY’S PIZZA Asia Ventures, Inc. (SPAVI) has acquired the chain of Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken restaurants in the country, as part of its strategy to expand its reach in the fast casual chain restaurant business.

The listed firm said in a statement Tuesday that it has signed an asset purchase agreement with Peri to acquire its assets and intellectual property, including the brand, trade name, and the proprietary recipes used to make its trademark peri-peri chicken.

With the agreement, SPAVI will now own and operate Peri’s network of 23 stores, about 60% of which are franchised while 40% are company-owned.

The two companies hope to close the deal by mid-2019, depending on the fulfillment of certain conditions.

Peri is part of businessman Bryan Tiu’s iFoods Group, Inc., the firm behind several homegrown brands such as Tokyo Cafe, Stackers Burger Cafe, and Parmigiano. Mr. Tiu also founded Teriyaki Boy, which was later acquired by Max’s Group, Inc. Aside from homegrown brands, the company also franchises Domino’s Pizza and Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory, among others.

Peri’s name is inspired by an African bird’s eye chili called piri-piri used in cooking the company’s signature charcoal-grilled chicken that is served with a variety of sauces.

“The brand now has a strong following and recently gained even more traction — evident in its strong same-store sales growth last year amidst the more challenging macro environment, and the amount of interest in new stores from potential lessors and franchisees,” SPAVI President and Chief Executive Officer Vicente L. Gregorio said in a statement.

Mr. Gregorio added that they plan to improve Peri’s accessibility through proper site selection and the further expansion of its network.

“We are excited by the potential of Peri to scale. We expect it to be an important future growth driver for our fast casual chain restaurant business. Our deep insights into how to best serve the typical fast casual restaurant guest should allow us to further grow the Peri brand,” SPAVI Chariman Christopher T. Po said in a statement.

Peri’s network will be added to SPAVI’s chain of 228 Shakey’s outlets in the country as of end-2018. The company will be adding 20 Shakey’s branches this year, or a target of 248 stores by the end of 2019.

SPAVI also operates three outlets abroad and is working on further expanding overseas, as it has the perpetual rights to the Shakey’s brand in the Middle East, Asia excluding Japan and Malaysia, China, Australia, and Oceania. It has at least 20 stores lined up overseas in the next few years.

Shares in SPAVI went up 0.33% or four centavos to close at P12.14 each at the stock exchange on Tuesday.