Bison in ready-to-eat food, bakery product joint ventures with Japanese firms

PETALING JAYA: Bison Consolidated Bhd will spend RM35.7 million on its 51% stake each in two joint ventures with Japanese partners to develop, produce and sell ready-to-eat (RTE) food and bakery products at its new food preparation and packaging facility in Rawang, Selangor. It expects its RTE segment to contribute 15% of its revenue in the first year upon the commencement of food production in the first quarter of 2019, from 11%.

Bison executive director and CEO Dang Tai Luk said it is optimising margin by focusing on products such as RTE and bakery, which generally have better margins. He added that the bakery and RTE food market growth has huge potential in Malaysia, similar to the market expansion of convenience stores’ bakery product offerings in Japan.

“We expect the 130,000 sq ft centre to be completed by end of 2018, so from now, it’s about construction, training ... the pre-operational process has started,” he told reporters after the signing ceremony today.

The Rawang facility is targeting to supply 150 myNEWS.com’s stores in 2019 and will subsequently roll out to other stores. At full capacity it can supply up to 600 stores. It is a halal manufacturing facility that will produce affordable and quality RTE food.

Bison today inked a joint venture agreement with Gourmet Kineya Co Ltd to produce ready-to-eat food via a new joint venture company Mynews Kineya Sdn Bhd.

Bison’s unit Mynews Food Sdn Bhd also entered into a joint venture agreement with MRA Bakery Sdn Bhd to produce bakery products via a new joint venture company Mynews Ryoyupan Sdn Bhd.

Gourmet Kineya operates various chains of restaurants with over 400 stores in Japan and overseas, and is one of the largest in-flight meal caterers in Japan; while MRA’s parent Ryoyu Baking Co Ltd operates 95 bakeries in Japan.

Dang said the joint ventures are in line with Bison’s growth and expansion strategy as they will contribute to an increase in quality of myNEWS.com’s food offerings with an increased range of high quality and attractive product offerings. In turn, this is expected to support store traffic growth and reinforce customer loyalty.

The news and convenience retail chain has over 360 outlets now, with brands such as myNEWS.com, Newsplus, Magbit, The Front Page, as well as WH Smith. It plans to open 90 new outlets in 2018.