Costa Coffee owner Whitbread has acquired 49% of Costa’s south China joint venture from its partner in a deal worth £35 million.
Costa currently owns 51% of the joint venture, which operates 252 stores in the south of China, including 93 in Shanghai.
In total, Costa operates 408 shops in China, with 156 in the north of China with joint venture partner BHG. The existing joint venture in the north is unaffected by the transaction.
Whitbread, which also owns restaurant brands Beefeater, Brewers Fayre and Table Table, said China is an important growth market and the deal is in line with its strategy to focus on key international opportunities.
Whitbread CEO Alison Brittain said: “One of our three key strategic priorities is to focus on our strengths to grow internationally and today’s announcement marks a significant and exciting step in our ambitious growth plans for China. We have enjoyed an excellent partnership with Yueda over the past ten years together, beginning to build the Costa brand in this key market.
“The coffee shop market in China is highly attractive, with a compelling opportunity for Costa to grow its presence over the longer term. This acquisition gives us full strategic and funding flexibility to unlock Costa’s potential in China, providing a strong platform to facilitate future growth, enhance the customer experience and make Costa the coffee shop of choice in this fast-growing market.
“We remain fully committed to our strong partnership with BHG in northern China and look forward to building our business with them in the years ahead.”
The south China business will continue to be consolidated in Costa and Whitbread financial accounts.
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