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September 9, 2008

Philippines’ Jollibee seeks funds for China expansion

Jollibee Foods Corp, the Philippines' largest fast-food group, said on Monday it was raising $100 million worth of Yuan loans from various local lenders to fund its expansion in China, reported Reuters.

It will be the first domestic borrowing by the Jollibee group in seven years.

The group, which is expanding aggressively overseas while continuing to outsell McDonalds and KFC  in its home market, operates two fast-food brands in China - Yonghe King and tea house Chun Shui Tang.

Jollibee has signed the deal for a three-year syndicated loan agreement with the Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co, Banco de Oro-Unibank, Inc, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp and the local branch of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd, the fast-food firm said in a statement.

The Renminbi-denominated loan will amount to 700 million Yuan or about $100 million, the company said.

The group said it would use the money this year and in 2009 to expand Yonghe King, invest in new facilities, and fund a previously announced acquisition of Hongzhuangyuan, a chain of restaurants located mostly in Beijing, for $55.5 million.

"The funds they are lending us will enable Jollibee Foods Corporation to pursue its profitable expansion in one of the largest and fastest-growing consumer markets in the world," Tony
Tan Caktiong, company chairman said in the statement.

In the Philippines, Jollibee operates its flagship hamburger and chicken chain with the same name, pasta and pizza store Greenwich, Chinese fast-food chain Chowking, the Red Ribbon bakery, and the
Delifrance delicatessen.

The group has 1,472 stores locally and 219 stores spread across Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, Dubai, Indonesia and the United States.

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