Jumbo Group to acquire Kok Kee Wanton Noodle for $2.1m

Kok Kee's owner Leong Goh Lian will hold a 25 per cent stake in the wanton noodle stall.
Kok Kee's owner Leong Goh Lian will hold a 25 per cent stake in the wanton noodle stall.PHOTO: KOK KEE WANTON NOODLES/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Food and beverage establishment Jumbo Group announced on Thursday (Nov 26) its proposed acquisition of popular hawker stall Kok Kee Wanton Noodle for $2.1 million.

It will take a 75 per cent stake in the 35-year-old wonton noodle stall. The remaining 25 per cent will be held by Kok Kee's owner Leong Goh Lian.

Once the acquisition is complete, Kok Kee will become an indirect subsidiary of the Jumbo Group, which will have exclusive rights to develop a franchise system for Kok Kee in Singapore and overseas.

Kok Kee - known for its springy noodles and lard-based chilli sauce - started in 1985 at the now-defunct Lavender Food Square, before moving to Hoa Nam Building in Jalan Besar. After a three year closure, it returned last year to its present location at Bistro 8 coffee shop in Foch Road.

In its announcement, the Jumbo Group stated that it is exploring opportunities to expand its brands. It added: "Supporting and having a stake in a day-to-day staple food concept will accelerate Jumbo's breakthrough into the local mass segment." In a separate report, the group also announced a net loss of about $8.2 million for its financial year ended Sept 30.

Brands under Jumbo include the flagship Jumbo Seafood, Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh and Zui Yu Xuan Teochew Cuisine. On Dec 3, the group will launch its new virtual brand Hack It, which specialises in seafood meal delivery.

Mr Ang Kiam Meng, the group's chief executive officer and executive director says: "I am a fervent lover of local hawker food and I strongly believe Singapore has a unique food culture which should be conserved and propagated.

"In recent years, more pioneer generation of hawkers are closing shutters due to old age and lack of successors. This proposed acquisition is not only strategic to the group's business objectives, but also allows Jumbo to play our part as a Singapore enterprise to preserve and promote our Singapore heritage flavours and dishes."

Another high profile acquisition that took place earlier this month is BreadTalk Group's deal - for an undisclosed sum - with the hawkers behind First Street Teochew Fish Soup in Upper Serangoon Road.

The 32-year-old brand is known for its signature broth made by simmering chicken, pork and fish bones for at least four hours.

Its first new outlet under the partnership launched on Nov 11 at BreadTalk IHQ's Food Republic food court, and more outlets are likely to open in the future.

The BreadTalk Group's portfolio of brands include Din Tai Fung, Song Fa Bak Kut Teh, and Toast Box.