Two Hong Kong-based private equity investment firms, led by Templeton Emerging Markets Group, have joined the $15 million series C funding round for Vietnam’s major restaurant chain operator Huy Vietnam Group Limited, according to a company announcement.
The investors are Welkin Capital, a mid-market focused private equity group founded by heirs of Greater China’s four leading business families, and Prosperous Alliance, an independent multi-asset fund management company holding a Type 9 Asset Management License, issued by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.
The deal follows a $15 million series B financing that the Vietnamese company secured last year from institutional investors and family offices in Malaysia, Korea and Hong Kong.
Dennis Nguyen, co-founder and vice chairman of Huy Vietnam and chairman of New Asia Partners, another private equity group based in Hong Kong and an existing shareholder of Huy Vietnam, commented: “I especially look forward to working with Templeton on the Huy Vietnam board as it brings well-respected market analysis and corporate governance to the company.”
Huy Vietnam said the proceeds from this series C round will be used to support its network expansion. It is well known for its three brands – “Mon Hue” (central Vietnamese specialty cuisine), “Com Express” (southern Vietnamese rice cuisine) and “Pho Ong Hung” (northern Vietnamese noodles) – and has set up restaurants in in the Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and other cities.
Huy Nhat, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Huy Vietnam, said in a statement: “This series C financing allows us to leverage our multi-restaurant brand strategy in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi and expand to second tier cities inVietnam.”
The three restaurant brands that offer affordable meals for the middle class, at convenient locations in big cities, are becoming increasingly popular among Vietnamese people.
Huy Vietnam targets opening additional Mon Hue, Com Express and Pho Ong Hung restaurants in the capital city of Hanoi and the commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City within this year, while expanding its geographical footprint in central and southern cities of Nha Trang, Hue and Da Lat in the second half of 2015.
“Huy Vietnam has successfully grown its restaurant chains, satisfying local Vietnamese and foreigners alike with its cuisine and comfortable ambiance. We are excited about the company’s prospects under its existing brands and others which may come. Templeton is therefore happy to be able to play a part in Huy Vietnam’s growth,” said Mark Mobius, chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group of Templeton Asset Management Ltd, who manages the Templeton Strategic Emerging Markets Fund IV, LDC.
Meanwhile, Johnny Kong, CEO of Welkin, added that Huy Vietnam is the firm’s first China-plus investment. Huy Vietnam’s vision of serving authentic, high quality food at affordable prices, combined with its proven operating model, position it well for rapid expansion. “We look forward to working together to continue developing the company as a leading restaurant chain in Vietnam and across the region,” said Kong.
Prosperous Alliance said that Huy Vietnam as a leading company in the Vietnamese food and beverage sector, and believes that the participation of institutional investors will further enhance its corporate governance and help in its future expansion.
Established in 2007, the company is one of Vietnam’s first internationally managed restaurant companies serving traditional Vietnamese food. Currently, it runs over 70 restaurants across the country.
Huy Nhat is confident in his business, fueled by the country’s young population, income growth and the increasing adoption of the culture of eating out.