Exclusive: L Catterton puts Singapore-based restaurant chain Crystal Jade on the block

Crystal Jade
Photo: Crystal Jade's Facebook page

L Catterton, a private equity fund backed by luxury goods giant LVMH, is likely to offload a majority stake in the popular Asian restaurant chain Crystal Jade Group, according to three people aware of the development.

L Catterton, formed by the merger of L Capital Asia and American consumer focused private equity firm Catterton, had acquired a 90 per cent stake in Crystal Jade in May 2014. It is estimated that L Capital Asia had paid about $100 million towards this buyout.

In June 2015, Standard Chartered Private Equity (SCPE) said it had invested $52 million in Crystal Jade for a minority stake.

When approached by DEALSTREETASIA via email, L Catterton declined comment.

Crystal Jade is one of Asia’s premier diversified food and beverage groups. Founded in 1991, it operates over 100 outlets ranging from fine dining and casual dining restaurants to specialty bakeries across 27 major cities in the Asia Pacific. It also maintains a presence through joint ventures and franchise arrangements in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, South Korea, Japan and India.

The investment in Crystal Jade was made by L Capital Asia 2, the second private equity fund raised by L Capital Asia (before it merged with Catterton). Launched in March 2013, L Capital Asia 2 held its first close at its hard cap of $950 million in August 2013. The investment in Crystal Jade was the third direct investment by L Capital Asia in the F&B sector; it had earlier invested in Jones The Grocer and Kudeta from its first private equity fund.

Since 1989, L Catterton has made over 150 investments in consumer brands across different segments of the consumer industry. With over $14 billion dedicated to investing in middle market companies, it is ranked among the most experienced consumer focused private equity groups in the world.

The food retail/restaurant sector in Southeast Asia has been abuzz with deal activity in the last one year.

Last year, private equity firm PAG Asia Capital (PAG) had invested an undisclosed amount in Paradise Group Holdings Pte. Ltd., one of the leading restaurant groups in Southeast Asia. This portal had then reported quoting industry executives that the deal valued the restaurant chain, which has over 60 outlets, at around $100 million.

This year, PE firm Falcon House Partners has reportedly invested in Indonesia’s bakery and pastry chain The Harvest as well as picked up a stake in the country’s leading hospitality chain, the Ismaya Group. Indonesian street food chain OTW recently said it is scouting for investors and is even open to offloading a majority stake to strategic partners.

In October last year, Yellow Tie Hospitality had disclosed plans to invest up to $20 million in Indian chef Harpal Singh Sokhi’s Twist of Tadka restaurant chain. In September, US-listed Yum Brands’ China operations received a $460 million investment from Primavera Capital and Ant Financial Service Group. This was preceded by Mekong Kapital’s $6.9 million investment in Vietnam’s Wrap and Roll.

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