L Catterton to divest majority stake from Singaporean restaurant chain Crystal Jade

L Catterton, Crystal Jade

L Catterton, Crystal Jade

LVMH-backed private equity firm L Catterton said it is offloading a majority stake in the popular Asian restaurant chain Crystal Jade Group, according to sources aware of the development.

The investment in Crystal Jade was made in May 2014 by L Capital Asia through its second private equity fund for an estimated US$100 million. This was two years before the merger of L Capital Asia and Catterton to form L Catterton.

At that moment, the deal with Crystal Jade came as the third investment by L Capital Asia in the food and beverage sector, after investments in Jones The Grocer and Kudeta from its first private equity fund.

Founded in 1991, Crystal Jade is one of Asia’s premier diversified food and beverage groups. It operates over 120 outlets ranging from fine dining and casual dining restaurants to specialty bakeries across 27 major cities in the Asia Pacific.

The food chain are mainly in Singapore, Hong Kong, and China. At the same time, it maintains a presence of having joint ventures and franchise arrangements in Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and the United States.

Crystal Jade has become a household name in Chinese cuisine and is renowned for delicious food and excellent customer service, having been awarded 1 Michelin Star in the Singapore Michelin Guide 2016 and 2017.

On the other hand, backed by luxury goods giant LVMH, L Catterton has made over 150 investments in consumer brands across different segments of the industry.

The investment firm is ranked among over the most experienced consumer focused private equity groups in the world, and manages US$14 billion dedicated to investing in middle market companies.

In related news, L Catterton is recently intensifying its investment in the Latin America region, having bought shares in Colombian health and fitness firm Bodytech, Brazilian food retailer Grupo St. Marche, and Argentinian lingerie brand Caro Cuore.

Malaysia’s Frontier Digital Venture to invest in Philippines property portal Hoppler

Hoppler, Frontier Digital Ventures
Malaysia's Frontier Digital Venture to invest in Philippines property portal Hoppler

Hoppler, Frontier Digital Ventures

ASX-listed Frontier Digital Ventures, an operator of online classified businesses in frontier and emerging markets has recently placed an investment in Philippines-based property marketplace Hoppler.

The investment in Hoppler is said to follow Frontier Digital’s strategy of transitioning its revenue mix to be closer to transaction and partnership with local entrepreneurs.

At present, the venture capital’s investment portfolio consists mostly of classified platforms, including Philippines’ new car sales portal AutoDeal and Vietnam’s transaction-focused classified business Propzy.

Founded in 2015 by Ramon Ballesca, Hoppler aims to create a solution for the localization issue in the existing real estate brokerage model by bringing professional real estate brokers into the equation.

To this end, the startup has developed Kumita – an online deal management system which connects real estate brokers to both buyers and vendors.

It enables property transaction among its network of professional brokers. That is when buyers see a listing they like, Hoppler will put them in touch with an individual broker who specializes in the neighborhood and property type they’re looking for.

Commenting on the investment, Front Digital Venture’s Founder and CEO Shaun Di Gregorio said, “Hoppler has built an incredibly scalable business model that is effectively digitizing the real estate brokerage market in Manila and progressively, over the broader Philippines market.”

“We look forward to supporting the rapid growth of their sales team and implementing the best-in-class management models to help Hoppler capitalize on their significant market opportunity,” he added.

The startup claims that real estate brokers who use their system have a 4 percent higher chance of closing leads, as opposed to 2 percent with non-Hoppler leads. For brokers, this means that they can expect to receive up to 50 percent of the sales commission once a transaction is completed.

Currently, Hoppler said that it is receiving an average commission of US$2000 for its operations around affluent areas in Manila.