Loob plans new brand by March 6 after split from Chatime

Loob Holding chief executive officer Bryan Loo

KUALA LUMPUR: The company that brought Chatime to Malaysia is expected to unveil their new brand of tea stores by March 6.

Loob Holding chief executive officer Bryan Loo said on Wednesday that for now, its 165 outlets in Malaysia will continue to have the Chatime brand until the end of the 45-day cooling period Loob agreed on with franchisor La Kaffa International Co Ltd.

After which, Loob will rebrand all its outlets under a new local tea franchise.

The new franchise, will not be too distant from Chatime. It will still sport a purple logo, albeit a different colour scheme and it will still specialise in tea drinks, though Loo said Loob was now free to experiment with new beverages.

"The genes of the company will still remain as a fast drink outlet but we are no longer restricted to just bubble tea. We can reframe ourselves to also provide fresh juices and artisanal coffee," he said.

Chatime franchisor La Kaffa International Co. Ltd of Taiwan terminated the franchise here earlier this month, though its contract with Loob still had 24 years to go.

La Kaffa would take over all 165 Chatime outlets in Malaysia which accounts for more than half of the turnover recorded by the franchisor’s reported 800 outlets worldwide.

Loo said he was stunned when he was served with the unilateral termination notice from Taiwan.

"We felt ambushed. We were caught by surprise as there was no prior indication of termination," said Loo.

Loob's announcement on Wednesday will be followed by an arbitration proceeding in Singapore, where Loo was adamant that his company would claim for damages to "their brand, it's people and the company."
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