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Manila's Jollibee to expand abroad

By JASON GUTIERREZ

MANILA, Aug. 15 -- The Philippines' largest fast food chain said Tuesday it plans to set up 10 outlets in Guam, Hong Kong, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Romania. Jollibee Foods Corp. officials said the move is aimed at serving the growing number of Filipino migrant workers abroad, currently pegged at 4.5 million. 'It is part of our strategy to expand in Asia and the Middle East,' said Raffy dela Rosa, Jollibee's vice president for finance. Over the next five years, the Philippines' version of McDonald's also plans to set up outlets in Vietnam, further expand in Guam and establish 25 stores in the UAE, dela Rosa said. Dela Rosa said Jollibee would also intensify its presence in Indonesia where two of its present eight international stores are operating. The other six are in Brunei and Dubai. Locally, Jollibee plans to set up 25 more stores to beef up operations and spend a total of 400 million pesos ($15.7 million) for a warehouse. Jollibee now has 150 branches nationwide, cornering about 47 percent of the fast food market. McDonald's operates only 70 branches, holding on to only about 20 percent of the market, analysts say. Jollibee has shifted to a new tack in its expansion, selling franchises instead of operating company-owned branches. Company officials believe the new approach will limit usual risks in operating branches such as possible losses in sales. Jollibee reported a 28 percent rise in its net profit to 129.9 million pesos ($5.04 million) in the second quarter of 1995 from 101.5 million pesos ($3.92 million) in the same period last year.

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Jollibee stocks are also in a continued upswing at the Philippine Stock Exchange. From an initial public offering price of 4.80 pesos ($0. 18) in 1993 its stocks have propelled to as much 17 pesos ($0.67) last week. Analysts said the stock is still expected to gain more ground for the coming weeks as many are awaiting a retail liberalization law that would allow foreigners to own a stake in the firm.

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