Japan Foods sets tie-up with Thai Express operator Minor Singapore

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Japan Foods said on Friday that it signed a binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Minor Food Group (Singapore) to expand the geographical reach of their restaurant brands.

Under the deal, the two will form a 50-50 joint venture company in Singapore to franchise and operate their existing restaurant brands in Japan, Thailand and China, it said in a filing to SGX after the market close on Friday.

Each will contribute S$100,000 in equity, for an initial issued and paid-up share capital of S$200,000, it said, adding the two will also provide the joint venture a total loan of S$2.3 million, which will be equally funded, for working capital.

Japan Foods will oversee, develop and manage the joint venture’s Thai cuisine restaurant operation in Japan and provide technical support and expertise for preparing Japanese cuisine in Thailand and China, it said.

Minor Singapore, which is an indirect subsidiary of Thailand’s Minor International PLC, will do the same for the joint venture’s Japanese cuisine restaurant operations in Thailand and China, while providing technical support and expertise on preparing Thai cuisine in Japan, it said.

Takahashi Kenichi, executive chairman and CEO of Japan Foods, called the MOU a “big breakthrough” for his company.

“it is the fulfillment of a long-time vision of the group to have a presence in the Japanese market. We have been bringing Japanese cuisine brands to Singapore for more than two decades and we have waited a long time to introduce some regional flavors to Japan,” Kenichi said.

“We believe we have finally found the right partner in Minor Singapore, whose brands such as ‘Thai Express’ are very established in Singapore and elsewhere, and we are optimistic that the well-traveled Japanese people who enjoy international cuisine will also respond encouragingly to it,” he added.

In addition, Kenichi said that the company was looking forward to launching some of its franchised and self-developed brands in Thailand and China, saying it would make the company more attractive as a franchise partner to Japanese brand owners which might be looking to expand outside their local market.

Minor Singapore’s brands in Singapore include Thai Express, Xin Wang Hong Kong Cafe, Poulet, Buffet Town and Kiseki Japanese Buffet Restaurant, it said.

Japan Foods’ brands include Ajisen Ramen, Menya Musashi, Osaka Onsho, Shitamachi Tendon Akimitsu and Konjiki Hototogisu, it said.


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