Creador, NewQuest, TR invest Yum Brands India franchisee

11.08.21 / Author: Justin Niessner

Creador, NewQuest Capital Partners, and TR Capital have co-led an INR11.5 billion ($155 million) investment in Sapphire Foods India, a franchisee operator of US fast food giant Yum Brands.

Creador contributed $73 million to the deal, which it described as its first foray into India’s fast-growing quick service restaurant (QSR) industry. This included a combination of primary and secondary capital. Both NewQuest and TR are secondary specialists.

Sapphire Foods operates 437 KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell restaurants in India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. Existing investors include Samara Capital Group, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, CX Partners, and Edelweiss Private Equity.

Much of the strategy is based on observations that omni-channel QSR businesses in India have been relatively resilient to the impacts of COVID-19 and quick to rebound. Kabir Thakur,  Creador’s Managing Director and co-head of India, added that the pandemic has spurred a transformation in buying patterns, with consumers migrating from the independent outlets to internationally recognized brands.

“The QSR market in India has been growing at 19% during the last few years and eating out frequency is significantly lower at 1.5-2x per person per month versus 7-9x in other developed markets,” Thakur said in a statement.

“The QSR market in India is expected to grow at 20+% over the next four years. Sapphire Foods, with its combination of iconic brands that are well-loved by customers, strong focus on customer service, impressive track record, and a strong management team is well poised to capture a significant share of the Indian food services market.”

Last month, Creador reached a $500 million first close on its fifth South and Southeast Asia-focused fund. The target is $600 million, and a hard cap has been set at $680 million. This comes amid a difficult fundraising environment for Southeast Asian GPs.

Creador has sought geographic diversification by investing one-third of its capital in India since inception. It has made 40 investments to date, including Sapphire Foods. Consumer brands, food, and related services are core areas of focus, with recent activity in the QSR space including the acquisition of a 30% stake in Malaysian teashop and beverage chain
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