Tealive’s IPO to be on ice for now

Despite the impact brought by Covid-19, its CEO says the brand is lucky to still be able to ride the storm, but planned IPO is further delayed

by NUR HANANI AZMAN / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

POPULAR lifestyle tea brand Tealive’s planned floatation is further delayed by its operating company Loob Holding Sdn Bhd due to market conditions amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Founder and CEO Bryan Loo admitted although the group is excited for the IPO corporate exercise, economic uncertainties have, however, put a dent on their plans to take the tea brand public.

Despite the impact brought by Covid-19, he said the brand is lucky to still be able to ride the storm as the market is badly affected.

“I am not sure whether the IPO is right for this year, hence we will postpone one more year to wait for more clarity.

“I really couldn’t tell if it would be next year for sure because of the current market situation, but we will postpone it until we get better clarity,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) recently.

Bloomberg first reported in May 2019 that Loob was considering an IPO to raise as much as RM300 million in 2020.

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

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

Commenting on the current extension of the Conditional Movement Control Order impact on bubble tea sales, Loo said Tealive outlets in shopping malls are affected due to fewer visitors.

“Our businesses are still doing relatively well, thanks to our outlets in suburban, rural and shoplot which are technically growing.

“From there, it can cushion the impact on sales in urban areas and shopping malls. Let’s imagine three years ago if we didn’t expand to petrol stations and drive thrus, today we would be suffering,” he added.

Loo said Tealive is on track to expand by 100 outlets in this financial year. Tealive is currently brewing strong with more than 520 outlets across Malaysia, China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Brunei, the Philippines, Australia and the UK, among other countries.

Moving forward, Loo said the company is planning to expand its presence in the focus on household fast-moving consumer goods segment as part of the group’s growth strategy.

“Our first success was Walls x Tealive ice cream — 10 million sticks sold. That makes us confident and now evolving other products into the household category.

“It could be ice cream, instant noodles and latest we just launched our bakery corner called Deli Bakes,” he explained.

The products for Deli Bakes currently are available at selected Tealive outlets.

In February, TMR reported that Loob had 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 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.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg also reported that Helios Photovoltaic Sdn Bhd plans to list on the local stock exchange by the second quarter of 2021, as it seeks to raise at least RM85 million to finance solar projects in Asia, MD Ken Ong said.

The company may get a market value of about RM350 million on trading debut. Ong said money raised from the listing is set to be used for projects in Malaysia, Singapore and Kazakhstan, as well as for working capital purposes.