Fastfood giant Jollibee Foods Corp. has taken full ownership of US hamburger chain Smashburger after acquiring an additional 15-percent stake for $10 million.
Jollibee said in a disclosure to the stock exchange it plans to put an additional capital into the Smashburger business by converting $80 million in loan into equity to fund the growth expansion of the hamburger chain in 2019 and beyond.
Jollibee, through wholly-owned unit Bee Good! Inc., acquired Smashburger Master LLC’s remaining 15 percent in the hamburger chain, making it the sole owner of the Smashburger business.
“We look forward to the development of Smashburger into a very strong brand and business in the United States,” Jollibee chairman Tony Tan Caktiong said.
The move to take full ownership of Smashburher was in line withe company’s thrust to accelerate expansion in the US.
“We look forward to replicating in Smashburger the significant brand and business development that Jollibee achieved in practically all its new and acquired businesses in the Philippines, China, Vietnam and other countries through the introduction of Jollibee’s business methods,” Jollibee chief executive Ernesto Tanmantiong said.
“We are preparing for even stronger growth in the United rates with higher rate of store expansion led first by Jollibee starting in 2019 and by other brands in succeeding years. We are building the organization structure and systems to make this happen,” he added.
Meanwhile, Jollibee disclosed that Thomas Ryan, the creator of the Smashburger brand, had been appointed as Jollibee’s chief product development advisor, while Jollibee country head for North America Jose Minana was named president of Smashburger.
Smashburger has 351 stores un the United States and presence in Canada, Costa Rica, Egypt, El Salvador, Kuwait, Panama, Saudi Arabia and United Kingdom. It accounts for seven percent of Jollibee’s consolidated system wide sales.
Jollibee in October 2015 initially purchased a 40-percent stake in Smashburger for $99 million.
It purchased an additional 45-percent stake in April this year for $100 million to boost its ownership to 85 percent.
Jollibee as of end November had a network of 3,079 stores across all brands in the Philippines and 1,378 outlets overseas.