A Japanese government-backed investment fund has been identified as the largest of new stakeholders in the Vietnam-headquartered pizza restaurant chain and FMCG business Pizza 4P’s.
Cool Japan Fund, described as an investment fund of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, has acquired the minority stake in the business sold by Vietnam equity investor Mekong Capital, for what has now been revealed as US$10 million. Several smaller investors also participated in the equity purchase.
Cofounder Yosuke Masuko said in a LinkedIn post that the company wants to continue to pursue its international growth ambitions.
“We have decided that Cool Japan Fund would be the best partner for us to work with in order to achieve these goals, and we have gladly agreed to … the transfer from Mekong Capital,” he said.
“We will continue to do our utmost to achieve our long-term vision.”
The acquisition did not include the injection of any new capital into the business; it was purely a share sale.
In a statement, Cool Japan Fund said it would help create a platform for Japanese ingredient manufacturers and breweries to expand overseas, especially in Vietnam, and “spread the word about Japanese food culture”.
The company described Vietnam as an attractive market, with a population of nearly 100 million people, a youthful population with an average age of 31, and stable economic growth.
“Further, Vietnam is friendly with Japan, and Japanese food culture is expected to become more popular and widespread in the country. Meanwhile, in neighbouring Cambodia, Japanese food has yet to catch on.”
Earlier this year, Cool Japan Fund increased its investment in Vietnamese logistics company CLK Cold Storage to help it transport meat, fresh food, sake, and other goods from Japan to Vietnam, and serve as a distribution base for Japanese retailers aiming to expand overseas.
Pizza 4P’s has 27 restaurants in Vietnam and Cambodia and has developed an FMCG product range including frozen pizzas and pasta, handmade cheeses and condiments, sold through supermarkets and convenience stores.