Kyochon F&B, South Korea’s No. 1 fried chicken franchise operator, is said to be pursuing an initial public offering that will be the first from the chicken franchise industry.
According to multiple sources from the investment banking industry on Sunday, Kyochon F&B has approached several brokerage firms late last year to explore IPO potentials. The most likely target date is said to be 2019.
Kyochon has been the leading fried chicken franchise in Korea for three straight years. Growing at an annualized rate of over 10 percent, it reported an operating profit of 10.3 billion won ($9.69 million) on sales of 291.1 billion won in 2016.
But when asked about the IPO, Kyochon said nothing is settled as it has many other issues to consider first.
Market watchers say an IPO won’t be easy due to foggy business prospects at home. Koreans’ consumption of chicken continues to grow but the number of chicken franchise brands is expanding at an even faster pace, resulting in a supply glut.
According to the Fair Trade Commission, the number of chicken franchises tallied in 2016 was 24,453, making it the largest of all 15 franchise sectors in the country. When counting in mom-and-pop stores, fried chicken shops in Korea are estimated to top 40,000, according to industry experts.
By Cho Hee-young and Kim Hyo-jin
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