Charoen, through his majority controlled Thai Beverage PCL, which brews and markets Chang beer, is in the process of taking over the entire KFC chain of operations in Thailand.
Sources said he is keen to expand his footprint into the Malaysian chain of quick service restaurants.
At the moment, QSR Brands (M) Holdings Sdn Bhd owns and operate the chain of quick service restaurants.
The major shareholder of QSR Brands is Johor Corp with a 51% stake while the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and private equity firm CVC Capital Partners own 25% and 24% respectively.
Sources said Charoen is looking to take up a substantial stake in QSR Brands.
“They are looking at acquiring the stakes held by the EPF and CVC” said a source.
JCorp took KFC private in 2012 through QSR Brands in a deal that was listed at RM5.1bil. The deal was only completed in early 2013.
Since last year, KFC was touted for a listing on Bursa Malaysia but this as of now, the listing exercise has not taken place.
Most private equity firms such as CVC have a five-year timeframe to exit their investment. In this case, the five years period is due early next year. However, so far there are no indications about the re-listing of KFC anytime soon.
Charoen's interest in KFC stems from his wide business ownership of companies in the food and beverage businesses.
Apart from ThaiBev, Charoen also owns Fraser and Neave Ltd (F&N) in Singapore, a company that he took over in January 2013. F&N Singapore owns the Malaysian leading beverage producer.
In August this year, Charoen’s ThaiBev purchased 240 KFC chain of restaurants located across Thailand for 11.3bil baht (RM1.43bil). It was reported that the deal will be completed by end of the year.
Meanwhile QSR Brands, which is much bigger than the Thailand franchise, has seen a change in its top management.
On Aug 1, it appointed Datuk Mohamed Azahari Kamil as managing director.
QSR Brands has over 775 KFC restaurants in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Cambodia. It is also the operator of Pizza Hut in Malaysia and Singapore, with more than 390 restaurants.
Apart from its restaurant operations, QSR Brands is involved in breeder and contract broiler farming, hatchery, poultry processing as well as a host of ancillary businesses.
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