PTT, Centel ready Vietnam cafe venture

PTT, Centel ready Vietnam cafe venture

Fukushima prefecture is one of Cafe Amazon's overseas locations. PTT Plc and Central Plaza Hotel Plc will operate the brand in Vietnam. (Cafe Amazon photo)
Fukushima prefecture is one of Cafe Amazon's overseas locations. PTT Plc and Central Plaza Hotel Plc will operate the brand in Vietnam. (Cafe Amazon photo)

Two SET-listed companies — PTT Plc and Central Plaza Hotel Plc (Centel) — have announced a joint venture to operate PTT’s coffee shop brand Cafe Amazon in Vietnam with a combined investment of US$3.5 million.

Under this joint venture, PTT Oil and Retail Business Plc (PTTOR) will proceed through PTTOR International Holdings (Singapore) Pte Ltd to hold a 60% stake.

Centel is investing through Central Restaurants Group Co (CRG) to own a 40% stake.

PTT on Thursday reported to the Stock Exchange of Thailand its total investment in this joint venture from PTTOR will not exceed $2.1 million.

Centel said CRG is investing roughly $1.4 million in this joint venture. Both counterparts signed a shareholder agreement for the new venture on Thursday.

Ronnachit Mahattanapreut, Centel’s senior vice-president for finance and administration, said the main objective is operating the Cafe Amazon business in Vietnam.

“It is in line with Centel’s vision to expand its food and beverage business in overseas markets,” he said.

Mr Ronnachit said CRG plans to use a new subsidiary in Vietnam to invest in this joint venture. This new subsidiary will be indirectly held by CRG through Central Restaurants Group (HK) Ltd, incorporated in Hong Kong on Nov 27.

CRG plans to use these new subsidiaries for further investment in overseas markets in the near future.

Chansin Treenuchagron, PTT’s president and chief executive, said this joint investment is in line with PTTOR’s vision for non-oil business expansion to be a leader of Thai global brands.

Wisarn Chawalitanon, PTTOR’s senior executive vice-president, said Vietnam is potential enough to expand the coffee shop business as the country has a high economic growth of economy and that government allows for new investors to establish and operate the businesses there.

“The high opportunities in Vietnam also come from a huge demand of consumer products as well,” Mr Wisarn said.

“Once the new joint venture in Vietnam takes place, PTTOR will study and search for new drinks for local consumers.”

Mr Wisarn said the Cafe Amazon coffee shop brand will be expanded branches as a franchise operation for local companies.

“PTTOR will use its restful oasis for city lifestyle concept for the Vietnam market,” he said.

Cafe Amazon has expanded its network to roughly 3,200 branches across Asia, including outlets in Oman, Singapore and Japan.

Launched in 2001, the coffee shop brand has 2.4 million visitors a year at branches.

In 2018, PTTOR posted revenue from its non-oil business of 10.9 billion baht, up from 5.12 billion the previous year. Cafe Amazon had only 2,750 branches in domestically and abroad for the period.

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