Another famous Australian name is now in foreign hands, with the 35-year-old South Australian ice cream chain Wendys being sold to Singapore-based Global Food Retail Group as part of plans to expand into Asia.
Adelaide-based Wendys CEO Rob McKay said the $10 million deal was finalised at 4pm and the company listed on the Singapore stock exchange overnight.
Wendys has more than 230 franchise stores across Australia and New Zealand, having started in an Adelaide shopping centre in 1979. Current turnover, including its ice cream factory, is $90 million.
Global Food Retail Group (GFRG), is subsidiary of Singapore listed company, Global Yellow Pages Limited, which also has an extensive property portolio.
“The new owners consider Wendys to be an iconic brand, with a strong network of stores throughout Australia and New Zealand. It is exciting to hear what plans they have for Wendys, and to be part of a new foray into the fast-growing Asian marketplace,” Mr McKay said.
“We have seen some tough economic times in the market in our sector so this is a real opportunity to take a fresh look at what we can do next to diversify and grow.”
The “treat” company is likely to target China with its mix of hot dogs, milkshakes, smoothies, donuts and ice creams, but the company will also need to work through the brand challenge of the American burger chain Wendy’s, which began trading in Singapore back in 2008.
McKay says the parent company is currently working on the issue. He stays on as CEO in Australia and may even take on a larger role in the Asian parent company from his Adelaide base. He said it’s business-as-usual for the locals, despite the new bosses.
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