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Food Empire, Sweet Blossom form JV

FBR Staff Writer Published 04 March 2016

Singapore-based food and beverage company Food Empire Holdings has entered into a joint venture agreement with Sweet Blossom Holdings with an initial investment of $13.6m.

Food Empire

Together, the companies have set up a joint venture company called Hallyu Ventures (HVPL) to invest into other food and beverage companies in South Korea.

Food Empire Holdings entered into the agreement through its wholly-owned subsidiary Future Investment Holdings. Sweet Blossom Holdings is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eastern Valley Group.

Food Empire and Sweet Blossom will hold equity stakes of 51% and 49% respectively, in HVPL.

The companies have also agreed to invest around $24m through subscription of ordinary shares and/or advancement of loans in HVPL in two progressive tranches.

The first tranche will see the investment to the tune of 60% of the $24m ($14.4 m) in the form of shares and/or loans. The remaining 40% will be injected as and when required under the terms of the JV.

Food Empire's first tranche of investment in HVPL will be $7.344m, which is equivalent to 51% of $14.4m, with Sweet Blossom contributing $7.056m.

As part of this arrangement, HVPL will make an initial investment of $13.6m in South Korean coffee house chain Caffebene Company, with more investment likely to be made later in 2016.

Food Empire chairman Tan Wang Cheow said: "This investment into Caffebene is part of our growth strategy to move into downstream business along the entire value chain of the food and beverage industry. We see opportunities to work with Caffebene including supplying some of our products. Caffebene will be able to tap on our various experiences and network connectivity into the global markets in the future.

"Combining our network and expertise, we are confident to bring greater value to Caffebene to lift it to the next level and make it a successful global brand."

The investment in HVPL will be funded through internal cash resources and bank borrowings.

The joint venture is not likely to impact the earnings per share and net asset value of Food Empire for the current fiscal year.

Caffebene, which was set up in 2008 in Seoul, sells brewed coffee, hot and cold beverages, pastries, croissants, sandwiches, waffles, gelato, and Misugaru, which is a traditional Korean nutrition beverage consisting of black sesame seeds, black bean, black and brown rice and barley.

Image: Food Empire sets up joint venture to invest in other food businesses. Photo: Courtesy of SOMMAI/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.