Fruitas Holdings Inc., the listed food and beverage kiosk operator of businessman Lester Yu, is reaping the fruits of its hard work and success.
It is expanding with a new and sprawling headquarters in Manila to meet the growing demand for its products — ice-cold healthy fruit drinks, fresh coconut water, and many other healthy finds.
Fruitas is pouring in a whopping P145 million for the acquisition of the site of its new headquarters in Sta. Mesa, Manila, with a size of 900 square meters. The new HQ will be a five-story building with a net floor area of more than 2,000 square meters.
Building the company’s new headquarters would mean that Fruitas is able to secure ownership and, therefore, long-term use of a property, which is vital for the future operations of the group.
Through the new and sprawling headquarters, Fruitas will be able to consolidate certain back-office operations.
“Given the current low-yield environment, investing in assets that can provide higher returns is positive for us. It will generate rental income from tenants of potential excess space. In the long-run, we also expect the property to have capital appreciation,” Yu said.
Present tenants include the Department of Justice. There is also a diagnostic clinic, which will open in November.
“We also intend to establish a Babot’s Farm outlet there,” Yu said, referring to the Fruitas Group’s retail outlet for some of its fresh products.
In all, Fruitas has allocated P165 million to P170 million in CAPEX, including the acquisition cost, for the new headquarters.
Yu said the development of a new headquarters, even amid the slowdown in business, is meant to optimize operations and maximize shareholder returns.
The company also approved the reallocation of P20 million to cover the equity portion of the acquisition cost for a 1,328-sqm site of the buko water commissary, which is currently being leased.
“Given the current low-yield environment, Fruitas is also investing its excess liquidity in assets that can provide higher returns in the long run. The move will also result in savings on lease expenses for the buko water commissary,” Yu said.
Being in the food and beverage business, Fruitas is resilient to COVID-19.
In fact, while other businesses are shutting down, the company has been opening more stores as part of its expansion.
The rollout of community stores under the Babot’s Farm and Soy & Bean brands continues. The newest Babot’s Farm stores opened in Little Baguio, San Juan City and Maria Clara St., Quezon City and the newest Soy & Bean stores opened in Petron Dasmarinas Village, Makati and N. Domingo St., Quezon City. Fruitas has also started to offer frozen par-baked de Original Jamaican Patties in its community stores.
Fruitas Holdings is the leading group in the food kiosk industry in the Philippines.
At present, it has about 1,000 stores across the country and over 20 brands in its portfolio.
These brands include well-loved food concepts Fruitas Fresh from Babot’s Farm, Buko Loco, Buko ni Fruitas, De Original Jamaican Pattie, Johnny Lemon, Juice Avenue, Black Pearl, Friends Fries, The Mango Farm, 7,107 Halo Halo Islands, Tea Rex, Kuxina, SHOU La Mien Hand-Pulled Noodles, and Sabroso Lechon. It recently launched the Soy & Bean product line and is opening a number of Babot’s Farm outlets, a new fresh products store concept.
Fruitas has so far reopened close to 700 kiosks, which is more than two-thirds of existing outlets.
“We are targeting to re-open substantially all of our stores by the end of the year. Meanwhile, we are aggressively opening community stores under the Babot’s Farm and Soy & Bean brands. The early sales performance of community stores is promising. We have secured more than 30 locations and are targeting to have 100 by end-2021,” Yu said.