Philippines: Dennis Uy inks deal for FamilyMart PH

Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy is venturing into the convenience store business, on Monday inking a deal to purchase the local operations of Japan’s FamilyMart via listed firm Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, Inc.

In a disclosure, Phoenix said it had inked a memorandum of understanding with SIAL CVS Retailers, Inc. and Japanese firms FamilyMart Co., Ltd. and Itochu Corp. to acquire 100 percent of Philippine FamilyMart CVS, Inc. (PFM).

A price for the “potential acquisition” was not disclosed.

SIAL — a 50-50 joint venture between the Ayalas’ ALI Capital Corp. and SSI Group, Inc. of the Tantocos – is the majority owner of PFM with a 60 percent stake. FamilyMart owns 37.6 percent and the remaining 2.4 percent is held by Itochu.

Phoenix said the acquisition, which still has to be cleared by the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), would complement its retail fuel business comprising 518 stations nationwide.

“Philippine FamilyMart has built a reputation for convenience and fresh, quality offerings. We are pleased to have it as a strategic addition to the group as we broaden our products and services and offer greater convenience to our customers,” said Uy, who is Phoenix president and COE, in a statement.

In a separate statement, SSI Group President and CEO Anthony Huang said they were proud “to have introduced FamilyMart to the Philippines. Filipinos have really embraced the convenience store format and FamilyMart is well positioned as one of the top CVS (convernience store) brands in the country.”

Ayala Land, Inc. Senior Vice-President Jose Emmanuel Jalandoni, meanwhile, said: “We are delighted that Phoenix Petroleum shares our vision for the continued growth of the FamilyMart brand in the Philippines. We believe that they have a robust platform for taking FamilyMart to the next level and will be excellent stewards of the brand moving forward.”

SIAL shareholder ALI Capital is a unit of Ayala Land.

Shares of Phoenix Petroleum added 8 centavos or 0.7 percent to end the day at P11.50 per share.
SSI fell 0.77 percent or three centavos to P3.88, while Ayala Land was down 15 centavos or 0.35 percent to P43.20.

FamilyMart, Japan’s second-largest convenience store chain, opened its first Philippine store in 2013 as the Ayalas and Tantocos sought to challenge the dominance of the 7-Eleven and Mini-Stop chains that are respectively run by Philippine Seven Corp. and Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc.

FamilyMart has since opened over 100 stores in Metro Manila and Cebu and was targeting a 500-strong network by 2018. Strong competition, however, led to the closure of unprofitable outlets and latest reports put its current line-up at around 70.

A report earlier this month said that the Ayalas and Tantocos had offered the business to prospective investors, prompting disclosures that SIAL was “exploring various options to strengthen and grow” FamilyMart in the Philippines.

Uy, who hails from President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown of Davao City, has been rapidly expanding his business empire. His ventures this year include the acquisition of a controlling stake in the 2GO Group, the listing of Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp. and the purchase of Enderun Colleges.

He also plans to put up the country’s first integrated resort-casino outside Manila in Cebu and just this month received clearance from the PCC to proceed with the development of a logistics hub in Clark.