The family that runs home- grown Singapore coffee manufacturer Boncafe International is selling the business to one of the world’s top coffee firms Massimo Zanetti/Segafredo for US$85 million (S$106 million)

Family selling Boncafe to Italian firm

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Rachael Boon

The Straits Times

The family that runs home- grown coffee manufacturer Boncafe International is selling the business to one of the world’s top coffee firms for US$85 million (S$106 million).

Italian company Massimo Zanetti Beverage (MZB) Group announced on Wednesday that it will acquire 100 per cent of Boncafe, established here in 1962.

The deal includes Boncafe’s roasting plants in Thailand and Singapore.

Boncafe employs about 60 staff in Singapore and another 400 in Thailand. No significant job cuts are expected.

Boncafe group chairman Connie Huber-Ting said: “The company has reached a level of growth where the stakeholders would like to take it to the next stage.”

She said MZB Group has indicated it will keep the Boncafe brand intact and will not be making massive changes.

It “has welcomed all managers and staff of Boncafe to the larger family”.

Boncafe engaged KPMG Corporate Finance six to eight months ago to explore options for expansion.

She said MZB Group emerged as a good fit, adding: “Boncafe will be well-positioned for its next phase of growth as we tap into a rising trend of gourmet coffee consumption in South-east Asia.

“Our newfound partnership will also allow us to achieve greater economies of scale and more platforms to enhance our brand profile.”

Boncafe is a leading gourmet coffee manufacturer and supplier in South-east Asia and the Middle East.

It was founded in 1962 by Mr Werner Ernst Huber, a Swiss national and former commodities trader, who died aged 87 in 2011. Mrs Huber-Ting is his wife.

He opened Singapore’s first coffee-roasting factory in Jurong to produce gourmet coffee to suit the tastebuds of the expatriate community.

His son Christian took over as managing director in 2006.

Mrs Huber-Ting said Boncafe’s consistent revenue growth reflected its healthy financial performance. Boncafe’s operating profit was US$7 million last year.

Boncafe has operations throughout Asia and the Middle East, with associate companies in markets including Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Cambodia, Dubai and Guangzhou.

It also has academies in Thailand and Singapore that offer barista training courses.

Boncafe celebrated its 50th birthday in 2012.

MZB Group is a major private player that owns brands such as Segafredo Zanetti and Chock full o’Nuts.

It reportedly manufactures 120,000 tonnes of coffee a year and produces tea, cocoa, chocolate and spices, with a total annual revenue of €1 billion (S$1.7 billion).

MZB Group president Massimo Zanetti said in a statement: “Our group will have the opportunity for further expansion in the Asian market, ensuring our production and distribution capacity is sufficient to meet the growing demand for coffee in the area.”

He said that no drastic changes will be made to Boncafe’s “successful business model”, its brand name or the management and workforce.

 

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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