Maybank Private Equity leads $25 mln funding in YPX Cayman Holdings

MAM PE Asia Fund I (Labuan), managed by Maybank Private Equity, has led a $25 million Series D funding round in YPX Cayman Holdings Co., a quick service restaurant company based in Shanghai. Other participants in the funding round include existing investors LionRock Capital, Ignition Capital, Koh Boon Hwee, former DBS Bank and Singapore Airlines chairman, and Peter Tan, former president of McDonalds Greater China.

Press Release

YPX Cayman Holdings Co. (“the Company” or “YPX”), a leading quick service restaurant company headquartered in Shanghai, announced today the closing of its series D financing round of USD 25M. MAM PE Asia Fund I (Labuan) LLP, a fund managed by Maybank Private Equity Sdn Bhd (“Maybank PE”), is the lead investor in the latest financing round, with follow-on investments from existing investors such as LionRock Capital, Ignition Capital, as well as renowned individual investors such as Mr. Koh Boon Hwee, former DBS Bank and Singapore Airlines Chairman, and Mr. Peter Tan, former President of McDonalds Greater China and ex-CEO of Burger King for Asia Pacific. Series D financing proceeds will be utilized to grow YPX directly-owned stores and to expand YPX’s franchising system.

“We are truly excited to have an investment from a fund seeded by Malayan Banking Berhad, or better known as Maybank. Maybank is one of South East Asia’s largest banks, and the largest in Malaysia by market capitalisation. Named one of the Top 20 strongest banks in the world consecutively in 2013 & 2014 (by Bloomberg Markets Magazine July / August 2014), Maybank through its private equity arm has a very rigorous due diligence process, and we are honored to have passed their stringent test on our business and management. It is a very significant event for me and the Company to have the fund investing in us. Maybank PE brings a wealth of experience to help us grow our business,” says Chris Tay, CEO and founder of YPX Cayman Holdings.

Mr. Pneh Tee Keong, CEO of Maybank PE, says, “We are very pleased with this outcome. The upside for this segment in China is enormous, given the increasing middle class population. We are also comforted by the fact that we are investing in a sound business, and backing an experienced management team to help us navigate through the intricacies of operating in this market. We are very excited to be a part of what I believe will be a successful partnership with Chris, his team and all the other shareholders.”

With this fresh funding, YPX will be able to grow more stores via direct-owned operations as well as franchisees across China. The company will also allocate some proceeds for R&D to diversify its menu offering, brand awareness and information technology to support its future growth. “Serving good quality, value for money food has been the hallmark of YPX since its inception. This year, we have continued to focus on improving our food quality and safety standards; we see this as an ongoing pursuit that will continue to underpin all that we do at YPX. 2014 is also our inaugural year for franchising, and we are very committed to being a responsible franchisor. We will set up a robust system to support and train our franchisees as they are in all ways business people and want a good return on their investments,” says Tay.

“In the past, franchising had an undesirable reputation in China, due to a laggard monitoring system and a mismatch of values between franchisors and franchisees. The industry was further tarnished by unethical practices by franchisors who emphasized short-term gains over creating a sustainable brand name. However things are changing, albeit slowly, and the market is maturing for the better; franchisees are more informed and educated than before. We want to be the first one to stand out as the most sought after and most responsible franchisor in China. Needless to say, this will not slow down our own corporate-owned stores. Not only will this positively add to our revenue growth, it will also provide support to our franchised stores. In addition to this, we are true believers in the use of information technology in the F&B industry, when often times IT takes a back seat in our kind of business. So we will invest heavily on IT in the coming years. The hottest potential is that China is still urbanizing rapidly and its consumer market is going to be the largest in the world in the next few years, if it isn’t already,” adds Tay.

YPX’s first brand is Cloud9, a Taiwanese Fast Casual Restaurant chain, which currently has more than 40 stores in 12 cities. Founded in late 2010, Cloud9 was seed-funded by Qiming Venture Partners, well known for its highly successful investment in Xiaomi. Over the next year, YPX hopes to add two more brands, be it from the USA or another country that has good brand equity amongst Chinese consumers. Tay says, “We will not add another brand for the sake of adding a brand. It has to have the same core values as the first brand: serving a majority of the Chinese customers with the best food at the most affordable pricing. We have strict principles that we adhere to when developing and nurturing a brand. We do not want to segregate any spectrum of the customers. We want brands that can understand the Chinese consumers’ needs and always staying relevant. And it has to be scalable at the same time. We have a solid management team and our reputation of being professional, reliable and accountable attracts many brands from overseas to want to work with us to expand in China.”

On the topic of food safety, Tay adds, “food safety is of paramount concern in China. YPX will not compromise on food safety for the sake of growth as these two important objectives are not contradicting. We can do both. A high moral standard and superior transparent management culture are held in very high esteem in YPX.”

Mr. Daniel Tseung, MD of LionRock Capital, says, “We are delighted to have a Maybank associated fund as the lead investor in the latest Series D round and look forward to working with Maybank PE, other YPX shareholders, and the company management team in strengthening YPX leading position in the Quick Service Restaurant industry in China.”

Mr. Rich Tong of Ignition Partners says, “This latest investment shows that YPX is one of the best teams in the highly competitive food and beverage market. We congratulate them on this great milestone.”

About YPX www.ypxfood.com

Founded in Shanghai in 2010, YPX Cayman focuses on the management of casual F&B chains in China. CLOUD 9, the Company’s first brand, mainly focuses on the Taiwanese casual F&B and snacks segment. The brand now has more than 40 stores across China including Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Changzhou, and Hefei. The Company’s management team has a combined F&B chain management experience of over 80 years, having worked in brands like KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King, Dicos, Dairy Queen and Yoshinoya. The Company aims to be a leading casual F&B platform in China.

About Maybank PE www.maybank-am.com

Maybank PE is a wholly owned subsidiary of Maybank Asset Management Group Berhad (“MAMG”), which in turn is a wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysian Banking Berhad (Maybank). Maybank PE targets minority investments in the consumer and consumer related segments across the Asian region.

Its parent, MAMG, is Maybank’s asset management business unit and offers investors a diverse range of investment solutions. MAMG has in-depth experience in managing investments ranging from equity, fixed income to money market instruments mainly on behalf of and for corporations, institutions, insurance and takaful companies and individual clients. In addition to that, MAMG also offers unit trust and wholesale funds. It has regional footprint and on-the-ground presence in key markets of the region – Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.

About LionRock Capital http://www.lionrockcapitalhk.com

LionRock Capital provides strategic, financial, and corporate governance support for growth stage companies in Greater China. It is supported by some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and family organizations, who also serve as valuable resources for LionRock’s investee companies and investment partners. LionRock seeks to build active, value-added, long-term relationships with company management teams and investors; its Managing Directors & Senior Advisors are internationally recognized leaders in business, investment, and corporate governance. The firm’s team of seasoned Asian professionals has a demonstrated track record of successfully helping management teams build & develop their businesses in Greater China and beyond.

About Ignition Capital http://www.igncap.com

Ignition Capital is the growth equity arm of a $3 billion global fund group which provides emerging industry leaders the investment and operations support to help them reach their long-term potential, in the technology, communications, consumer and healthcare sectors. Over the last 14 years, they’ve been working with a broad array of companies that have become market leaders in technology, telecommunications, consumer services and healthcare. They have seen their companies deal with difficult economic situations while still growing dramatically to either become public companies, or be sold to larger market leaders.

SOURCE YPX Cayman Holdings Co., Ltd

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