Fruitas channels 'idol' Jollibee as shares rise on stock exchange debut

Michelle Ong, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 29 2019 12:24 PM | Updated as of Nov 29 2019 06:44 PM

MANILA – Shares of Fruitas Holdings rose on their debut at the Philippine Stock Exchange, as the food kiosk operator sought to expand, taking inspiration from Jollibee.

Fruitas shares were up 42.86 percent at noon from its initial public offering price of P1.68 per share. Proceeds from the sale of 533.7 million common shares will be used to grow the business.

"Jollibee is an Idol. But we like to have our own personality, our own story," Fruitas Holdings CEO Lester Yu told ABS-CBN News.

Fruitas' current 1036 stores are "thin" compared to Jollibee, Yu said, adding, "We will continue doing that and then look for acquisition targets, improve facilities, build new commissaries."

Fruitas, which opened its first store in SM Manila in 2002, currently has 24 brands.

It allocated P600 million to add 150 to 250 branches annually up to 2022, said chief financial adviser Calvin Chua.

The Filipinos’ love for food, and the country’s young population who are always on-the-go helped Fruitas sustain its growth, Chua said.

Fruitas Holdings’ portfolio includes Buko Loco, Johnn Lemon, Juice Avenue, Buko ni Fruitas and The Mango Farm, among others. It also introduced Coffee Talk.

The operator plans to keep ownership and management of most of its branches, Yu said. Now that the company is already public, Yu said it hoped to achieve another goal to become a Filipino household name.

"Pangarap naming ang bawat Pilipino ay tatangkilikan ang isa sa aming mga produckto araw araw," Yu said.

(Our dream is for every Filipino to patronize one of our products everyday.)