Tealive’s owner Loob Holding aims for IPO this year

Loob could fetch as much as RM1b, but the final value would be largely dependent on the market and investors’ appetite


LOOB Holding Sdn Bhd has appointed corporate advisors for the IPO and listing of its multimillion bubble tea business on the local stock exchange this year.

The owner and operator of the popular and fastest-growing Tealive bubble tea franchise in the country could fetch as much as RM1 billion based on previous valuation, but the final value would be largely dependent on the market and investors’ appetite for such listing.

Loob founder and CEO Bryan Loo said the company is focused on its mission and target of achieving its business strategy to be strong financially.

“There will never be the right timing in business, including when to list. Our ultimate long-term mission is to build Malaysian’s very own global lifestyle tea brand.

“We would go ahead with our listing whenever we are ready. We can’t say much for now, but it will definitely be this year. We will provide updates when appropriate,” he told The Malaysian Reserve last week.

Loo, however, declined to comment about the valuation of the company despite earlier reports suggesting the company would be worth about RM1 billion.

“But as long as our numbers are performing and good, why not?” he added.

Loob was established in August 2010 and manages a diverse portfolio of food and beverage (F&B) brands, including Tealive, Croissant Taiyaki, Gindaco, Tearush, Ko Ko Kai, Define Food and SodaXpress.

Loob was previously the franchise holder of Chatime, owned by Taiwanese franchisor La Kaffa International Co Ltd. A bitter dispute between the two companies saw La Kaffa terminating Loob’s contract. In August 2018, Loob and La Kaffa reached an out-of-court settlement to resolve all disputes from their franchise relationship.

Loo and Loob moved on to create Tealive in 2017 and the brand is fast becoming the leading lifestyle tea brand with over 500 outlets.

Tealive continues to grow through strategic expansion and innovation of products and services. It serves over five million consumers monthly in Malaysia. It also has presence in China, Vietnam, Brunei, Myanmar, Australia, Philippines and the UK.

Last week, Loob launched Malaysia’s first strawless bubble tea cup and a glass tumbler as the company seeks to reduce the use of single-use cups by 500,000 pieces a month in 2021.

The government is already weighing to incentivise companies that adopt green initiatives.

Deputy Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis is also looking to increase the tax levy of businesses that use single-use plastic cups, cup covers and plastic straws.

She said more consumers are aware of the impact of single-use plastics on the environment and she hoped more companies offer their customers a choice to support the government’s initiative to end single-use plastics.

“To achieve ‘Zero Single Use Plastics’ by 2030, brands from the F&B sector must be bold to overcome commercial challenges they may initially face through innovative solutions.

“We hope more companies will come up with alternative ideas to reduce and subsequently end single-use plastics in their business,” she said.

Loo said Tealive would offer two types of reusable cups — a glass tumbler called OneCup designed by young Malaysian entrepreneur Sam Loh, and the strawless bubble tea cup.

“As we searched for a sustainable solution to the use of single-use plastics, we thought it would be great to have a cup designed using food-grade materials for our pearls and other toppings that would not need any straw,” he added.