Japan Foods in regional tie-up with Minor Singapore

Japan Foods executive chairman and chief executive Takahashi Kenichi says he looks forward to launching both franchised and in-house brands in Thailand and China.
Japan Foods executive chairman and chief executive Takahashi Kenichi says he looks forward to launching both franchised and in-house brands in Thailand and China.PHOTO: JAPAN FOOD HOLDINGS GROUP

They will run each other's brands in Thailand, China and Japan

Catalist-listed Japan Foods Holding has teamed up with a fellow restaurant operator to run each other's brands in Japan, Thailand and China.

The collaboration involves creating a joint venture with Minor Singapore, an indirect subsidiary of Minor International Public. Each firm will hold 50 per cent.

Japan Foods will run the joint venture's Thai eatery operations in Japan and provide support for Japanese cuisine operations.

And Minor Singapore will run the Japanese food outlets in Thailand and China, and support the preparation of Thai cuisine, according to a binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed yesterday.

The two restaurant operators will fund the joint venture with a combined shareholder loan of $2.3 million, which will be disbursed for working capital as determined by the joint venture's directors.

Japan Foods and Minor Singapore will each get two board seats, with the chairman to rotate between representatives of each firm.

The two restaurant operators will fund the joint venture with a combined shareholder loan of $2.3 million, which will be disbursed for working capital as determined by the joint venture's directors.

Japan Foods plans to fund its half of the shareholder loan, and any subsequent funding, with internal cash resources, it said in a bourse filing.

But a definitive joint-venture agreement must be reached within six months or the MOU will be voided.

Japan Foods said the proposed joint venture will let both partners leverage each other's operational strengths and industry experience, as well as their respective culinary expertise.

Minor Singapore executive chairman and chief executive Dellen Soh also noted that the two companies "share many synergies, including strong brand portfolios and good operating track records".

Japan Foods executive chairman and chief executive Takahashi Kenichi said in a statement that the new deal is in line with the group's vision of setting up shop in Japan and added that he looks forward to launching both franchised and in-house brands in Thailand and China.

"We believe that our expanded network will also make us more attractive as a franchise partner to Japanese brand owners who may be looking to expand beyond their local market," said Mr Kenichi.

The proposed joint venture is not expected to have any material impact on Japan Foods' consolidated earnings and net tangible assets per share for the year to March 31, 2019, said the group's board.

Japan Foods' flagship brands include noodle restaurants Ajisen Ramen and Menya Musashi, while Minor Singapore operates brands such as Thai Express, Xin Wang Hong Kong Cafe, Poulet and Buffet Town in Singapore.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2018, with the headline 'Japan Foods in regional tie-up with Minor S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe