The owners of US Chinese QSR restaurant chain Panda Express, have taken a strategic stake in a Chinese department store chain.
Andrew and Peggy Cherng are a Chinese-American couple with a net worth estimated at more than US$3 billion. Originally from China’s Jiangsu province, they opened a Chinese restaurant in California in 1973 and have since built a nationwide network of 1650+ restaurants, all company owned.
Last year’s sales exceeded $2 billion and they have a staff of 25,000.
Now the couple has taken a 4.9 per cent stake in Hong Kong-based Golden Eagle Retail Group, which has 26 department stores in mainland China.
The Cherng’s CFI Hong Kong Investments will pay HK$9.10 a share for 87.5 million shares in Golden Eagle, a total of HK$796.4 million, or US$103 million, according to documents lodged with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Golden Eagle opened its first department store in Nanjing Xinjiekou 18 years ago and now operates 1.187 million sqm of retail space. Its stores span four provinces and one municipality – Jiangsu, Anhui, Shaanxi, Yunnan and Shanghai, covering 15 cities including Shanghai, Nanjing, Nantong, Yangzhou, Changzhou, Xuzhou, Taizhou, Huai’an, Yancheng, Suqian, Liyang, Hefei, Huaibei, Xi’an and Kunming.
Golden Eagle’s statement said Panda Group would use its new investment as a platform to learn more about the China market.
Golden Eagle is controlled by Roger Wang, another Chinese-American billionaire whose family now owns 69.8 per cent of the business after the Cherng’s investment.