The Nation

business

Smaller
Larger
Investment

Saha in joint venture to open more Japanese restaurants here and abroad

Saha Group, one of Thailand's biggest manufacturers and traders of consumer products, yesterday signed a joint-venture contract with Nippon Tei, a Thai-owned Japanese restaurant chain in Thailand, and Sato Restaurant Systems, a Japan-based restaurant operator, on the opening and expansion of Japanese restaurants in Thailand and neighbouring countries.

Called Nippon Tei Sato Co, the new joint venture will have Bt60 million in registered capital. ATV Holding Co, owner and operator of Nippon Tei restaurants, will hold 61 per cent of the venture. Saha Group will hold a 20-per-cent stake and Sato Restaurant Systems 19 per cent.

Yoshitaka Shigesato, president, representative director and chief executive of Sato Restaurant Systems, said the Osaka-based company was formed in 1958 and now operated about 317 restaurants under several brand names.

About 197 are under the Washoku Sato brand, whose family-oriented buffets offer Osaka- and Kyoto-style foods.

Before moving into Thailand, the company opened Japanese restaurants in Taiwan and Indonesia.

The first Washoku Sato restaurant in Thailand will be opened in October at J-Park Shopping Mall in Sri Racha district, Chon Buri. It will target office workers and families, as well as Japanese expatriates working and residing in Sri Racha and the surrounding areas.

Soontaree Leegomonchai, managing director of Nippon Tai Sato, said the company planned to open about eight Washoku Sato restaurants within the next five years, mainly in Sri Racha and Rayong. Each restaurant will require an investment of about Bt30 million and is expected to break even in no more than five years.

"We are also looking for future expansion after the implementation of the Asean Economic Community, which will be effective next year, which will go beyond Thailand to the neighbouring markets of Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos," she said.

Boonsithi Chokwatana, chairman of Saha Group, said many Thai consumers liked Japanese food. There are currently more than 1,000 Japanese restaurants in Thailand, the fifth-highest number in the world after the United States, mainland China, South Korea and Taiwan.

He said that the overall market of Japanese restaurants in Thailand was expected to worth more than Bt17 billion this year with growth of 10-15 per cent annually.

Boonsithi said the joint venture would combine the strengths of the three partners. Nippon Tei has strong expertise and has operated Japanese restaurants in Thailand for more than 26 years.


Comments conditions

Users are solely responsible for their comments.We reserve the right to remove any comment and revoke posting rights for any reason withou prior notice.