Taste Holdings is getting ready to dispose of Maxi’s and The Fish & Chip Company. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)

DURBAN – Taste Holdings on Tuesday announced it would offload food brands Maxi’s and The Fish & Chip Company as part of its continuing change and new strategic direction. 

The group said it had entered into an agreement in terms of which the company will dispose of the two food brand franchise businesses.

“Shareholders are referred to the company’s Sens announcement of November 1, regarding the change of strategic direction of the company and the consideration by the board of the sale of all of the Taste food brands, being Starbucks, Domino’s Pizza, Maxi’s and The Fish & Chips Company. 

"The outcome of this strategy would be for Taste to become a focused luxury retail group consisting of NWJ, Arthur Kaplan and World’s Finest Watches,” the group said.

Taste Holdings sold its local Starbucks franchise for R7 million to an entity called K2019548958 in a strategic shift away from food brands for the company. 

The company said it had become evident that capital investment required for the previous expansion strategy could not be secured, given the current structure of the business and existing market conditions.

Management said it estimated that the company would require at least R700m, including the amount raised in the current rights offer, to reach positive free cash flow, and the Starbucks network would have to expand to between 150 and 200 cafés, and Domino’s to between 220 and 280 restaurants.

The Starbucks business currently consists of 13 corporate-owned Starbucks stores situated in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban.

Yesterday, the group said the disposal of Maxi’s and The Fish & Chips Company remained subject to regulatory conditions. It said it anticipated that the transaction would be completed in two weeks.

Jordan Weir, a trader at Citadel, agreed that the disposal of its food division was the right choice strategically for the company.

“This division has particularly suffered in a tough economic climate, and the company additionally has not been able to secure enough capital for its expansion projects within the food space,” Weir said. 

Taste Holdings shares closed unchanged on the JSE on Tuesday at 8 cents.

BUSINESS REPORT