Investcorp announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a majority ownership position in Viz Branz Holdings Pte Ltd. (Viz Branz), from the existing shareholder and CEO, Mr. Ben Chng. The deal was concluded in partnership with the Asia Food Growth Fund I.
Established in 1988, Viz Branz is a leading, family-owned manufacturer and distributor of market leading instant cereal and beverage brands across China and Southeast Asia, including the popular Gold Roast, Calsome, Royal Myanmar Tea and Cafe 21 brands. Headquartered in Singapore, Viz Branz has approximately 1,300 employees with manufacturing facilities and operations in China and Myanmar. The Company generated SGD 170 million in sales for the twelve months ended 30 June 2020.
China is the largest market for the Company, accounting for over 65% of its revenues. The Gold Roast brand has c.35% of the instant cereal market in Southern China, an area with a combined population of over 220 million. Viz Branz has an established position in the sizeable China cereals market, which is worth over US $1 billion and forecasted to grow at 7% p.a. to reach US $1.4 billion by 2024. Over the last 30 years, the Company has built market leading positions with a portfolio of over 10 brands in China and South East Asia.
Hazem Ben-Gacem, Co-CEO of Investcorp and Chairman of the Asia Food Growth Fund Investment Committee commented: “We are proud of our growing Asian investment platform. To date, Investcorp has invested over US $1 billion in Asia, mostly in China. This transaction represents an exciting opportunity in a market leading company and in what we believe is an attractive, resilient sector with substantial growth dynamics. We believe that Viz Branz is well positioned for expansion through increasing distribution in China and other parts of Southeast Asia, delivering product innovation and investing in the company’s operational and multi-channel capabilities as well as through add-on acquisitions. We believe that the Company’s market leading positions could be leveraged to create a sizeable branded, packaged F&B platform in China and Southeast Asia”.
Ben Chng, CEO of Viz Branz and existing shareholder who will maintain a significant ownership stake in the Company commented: “We have worked tirelessly at Viz Branz to make nutritional and quality food and beverages available and convenient for all families. Joining forces with Investcorp, China Resources and Fung Investments, is an important milestone in our evolution and will unlock significant opportunities for our business. Through our new partnership, Viz Branz will have access to additional resources and expertise that we believe will accelerate our growth plans and enable us to flourish for many years to come.”
The acquisition of Viz Branz represents Investcorp’s 16th investment in the food and beverage industry in over three decades across the US, Europe, MENA and Asia.
Investcorp has established a joint venture with CR Capital, the private investment arm of China Resources Group, a Fortune Global 500 enterprise and owner of China’s largest supermarket chain enterprise group, China Resources Vanguard, and Fung Strategic Holdings Limited, a member of the private investment arm of the families of Victor Fung and William Fung. The investment platform primarily focuses on capturing the potential growth and market opportunities in Asia’s highly fragmented food sector.