Jollibee buys Burger King franchise in the Philippines

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Philippine fastfood giant Jollibee Foods Corp. has cemented its leading position in the highly competitive quick-service restaurant industry by taking over the Philippine operations of American chain Burger King.

The deal allows JFC to gain a foothold into the premium segment of the hamburger category in the fast-food business as the group was expecting the premium price segment of the market "to grow appreciably in the years ahead as the Filipino consumers' standard of living rises from the growing economy."

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange Friday, Jollibee announced that it has signed an agreement acquiring a 54-percent stake in BK Titans Inc., owner of PERF Restaurants that, in turn, is the sole franchisee of the Burger King brand in the Philippines. The deal was priced at 65.5 million pesos (US$1.49 million).

Burger King has 23 restaurants in the country, mostly located in Metro Manila. It generates annual revenues of P800 million and has recently turned profitable despite its much smaller store network compared to Jollibee's.

The American fastfood chain, which is based in Miami, Florida, has similar products to Jollibee such as hamburger, fried chicken and fries in its core menu. However, Burger King's products are priced about 30 percent higher than comparable Jollibee products in the Philippines.

The entry into higher-end fast food products will allow Jollibee to harness the growing mass affluence of Filipino consumers and capture a niche market that is less sensitive to economic cycles. At the same time, its entry is seen allowing Burger King to scale up operations in the country.

With the entry of Jollibee into BK Titans, the fast-food giant will still have as minority partners the groups of businessmen Manuel V. Pangilinan (13 percent) and Alberto Lina (33 per cent).

Founded in 1954, Burger King is the second-biggest fastfood hamburger chain in the world operating more than 12,300 locations and serving 11 million guests daily in 78 countries. Most of its restaurants are owned and operated by independent franchisees. In Asia, the business is managed by Singapore-based BK Asiapac Pte. Ltd.

For its part, Jollibee operates the Philippines' biggest fastfood network with 1,941 stores in the country under the brands Jollibee (733), Chowking (395), Greenwich (209), Caffe Ti Amo (2) and Mang Inasal (393). It has 437 stores overseas under the brands Yonghe King (235), Hong Zhuang Yuan (52), Jollibee (71), Red Ribbon (39) and Chowking (40).

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