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The largest fast food chain in the Philippines, Jollibee Food Corp.which is controlled by the billionaire Tony Tan Caktiongplans to buy back $250 million of dollar-denominated perpetual bonds the company issued last year to fund its international acquisition spree.

To refinance the debt, Jollibee said it would raise up to 12 billion pesos ($250 million) through the sale of up to 12 million preferred shares, including oversubscription, at 1,000 pesos each. . The sale of shares is subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.

The stock sale is part of Jollibee’s plan “to restructure its financial obligations in order to strengthen its balance sheet, spread the maturity of its financial obligations and reduce its foreign exchange risks,” the company said in a statement to the Philippine Stock Exchange. “It is also part of its action steps to reduce its debt and financing costs as its businesses in different parts of the world recover from the severe consequences of the pandemic.”

The proceeds from the sale of the preferred shares will be used to redeem a portion of the $600 million of Jollibee perpetual bonds issued in January last year. Perpetual bonds helped Jollibee refinance short-term loans used to acquire coffee bean and tea leaf in September 2019. In June 2020, the company also raised an additional $600 million through the sale of two tranches of senior debt securities that provided contingency measures against the prolonged impact of the pandemic.

Jollibee sank into the red in 2020, with an annual net loss of 11.5 billion pesos, as cities around the world went into lockdown to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company went back to black in the fourth quarter and posted a net profit of 153 million pesos in the first quarter.

“Most of our overseas businesses are reaching pre-pandemic level sales,” Jollibee CEO Ernesto Tanmantiong said in a statement. “Comparable store sales growth offset the effect of permanently closed stores due to the pandemic. Our earnings and cash flow have rebounded strongly from a year ago. »

Overseas outlets accounted for 41% of total sales in the first quarter, the company said. The group will continue to expand overseas, Tanmantiong said in an interview with Bloomberg in March. Jollibee plans to open 450 outlets overseas this year while looking for potential acquisitions, he said.

Founded by Tan Caktiong over 40 years ago, Jollibee now operates over 3,200 outlets in the Philippines and over 2,500 overseas, including US chains Smashburger and Coffee Bean. The company had to close some 70 overseas outlets as Covid-19 shutdowns around the world negatively impacted restaurant sales at its restaurants.

Tan Caktiong, 68, was ranked No. 9 on Forbes list of The richest people in the Philippines as of September 2020, with a net worth of $1.9 billion. Together with his partner Edgar Sia II, he also owns a stake in the fast-growing company Properties of DoubleDragon.