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Whitbread buys Costa joint venture in South China

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Whitbread buys Costa joint venture in South China

Whitbread’s Costa coffee business has acquired 49% of its South China joint venture from its partner, Yueda, for £35m, to assume full ownership of the business.

Costa currently owns 51% of the joint venture, which operates 252 stores in the south of China, including 93 stores in Shanghai.

Alison Brittain, chief executive of Whitbread, said the acquisition was one of the company’s key strategic priorities to grow internationally and marks “a significant and exciting step” in ambitious growth plans for China.

“We have enjoyed an excellent partnership with Yueda over the past 10 years together, beginning to build the Costa brand in this key market,” she explained.

“The coffee shop market in China is highly attractive, with a compelling opportunity for Costa to grow its presence over the longer term. This acquisition gives us full strategic and funding flexibility to unlock Costa’s potential in China, providing a strong platform to facilitate future growth, enhance the customer experience and make Costa the coffee shop of choice in this fast-growing market.”

The purchase is subject to final government registration formalities, with the aim to complete the transaction as soon as practicable.

Whitbread also operates a 50/50 joint venture in the north of China with BHG.

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