Malaysian PE Creador enters India’s QSR sector with $73m investment in Sapphire Foods

Photo of Sapphire Foods India Ltd

Malaysian private equity firm Creador has invested $73m in Sapphire Foods India Ltd, one of the largest franchisee operators of YUM! Brands in the Indian sub-continent.

Sapphire Foods India operates a total of 437 KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell restaurants in India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives.

The company is backed by a consortium of private equity firms including Samara Capital, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, CX Partners, and Edelweiss Private Equity. 

The investment marks Creador’s foray into India’s fast-growing quick-service restaurant (QSR) sector and is being made through a combination of direct investments into Sapphire and a secondary purchase of shares in the company.  

“This is the ideal time to be investing in the Indian subcontinent’s burgeoning quick service restaurant (QSR) industry. The pandemic has spurred a transformative change in consumer buying patterns, with consumers migrating from the independent food sector to internationally-recognised brands like KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, a strong emphasis on food safety and hygiene, and omnichannel accessibility,” said Creador’s managing director and co-head for India Kabir Thakur.

He added that QSR is the fastest-growing segment among foodservice chain formats in India, where global QSR brands dominate.

Thakur also gave some figures on the QSR market in India which has been growing at 19% during the last few years. However, eating out frequency is significantly lower at 1.5-2 x per person per month vs 7-9x in other developed markets.

The QSR market in India is expected to grow at over 20% over the next four years, he forecasted.

In July, DealStreetAsia reported that Creador secured the first close of its fifth fund at $500 million and is looking to announce three new deals in August.

The fundraise marks the firm’s largest first close to date, bringing its assets under management to about $2 billion. The source said the fund is on track to make its final close by the end of this year with a corpus of $680 million.

Creador launched its fifth fund in March. Its predecessor fund had closed after securing around $565 million in July 2019, exceeding its hard cap of $550 million.

The PE firm recently made headlines for divesting 50% of its stake in credit reporting agency CTOS Digital Bhd as the company made its debut on Bursa Malaysia. In June, Creador picked up a 30% stake in Malaysia’s Loob Holding, which owns the Tealive bubble tea brand.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.