In 2021, the brother of ultra bilyonaryo Tony Tan Caktiong boldly announced that Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC) would open up to 100 branches of Pho24.
Two years later, JFC is shutting down the entire business.
In its latest report to the Philippine Stock Exchange, JFC said it booked a P463.11 million impairment loss on the Pho24 trademark after closing all of four branches of the Vietnamese noodle soup shop in the Philippines.
JFC added it “plans to discontinue its Pho24 business in the future.”
JFC’s losses are expected to balloon to P1.1 billion with the write-down of Pho24’s other assets like inventory and restaurants.
So what was Tan Caktiong’s sibling, JFC chief business officer, Joseph Tanbuntiong, thinking when he announced Pho24’s mind-boggling expansion in the middle of the raging COVID pandemic?
“We are looking forward to the new store openings of PHO24 this year as part of plans for the long-term strategic growth of the Jollibee Group,” said Tanbuntiong in a statement hyping Pho24.
Tanbuntiong made the announcement after JFC lost P1B a month in 2020 and shut down 486 stores.
JFC subsidiary Fresh N’ Famous Foods Inc. acquired the brand Pho24 in 2018, and was solely operated by JFC in the Philippines.
Pho24 has 26 stores outside the Philippines as of end-2022, including 14 in its home country Vietnam.
Pho24 is part of the brand portfolio of JFC’s joint venture with Viet Thai International Joint Stock Co., Superfoods Group, which also includes Highlands Coffee.
Superfoods suffered losses of P1.307 billion from 2018 to 2021, but finally posted a profit of P336.991 million in 2022. JFC has a 40 percent stake in Superfoods.
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