Figaro Coffee prepares for initial public offering
- Rocel Felix () - August 28, 2006 - 12:00am
Fast-growing local coffee chain Figaro Coffee Co., is gearing up for its planned listing in both the local and international stock exchanges in the next three to five years.

"We are seriously studying the best approach to undertaking an initial public offering (IPO) not only in the local stock exchange but in several key exchanges in the region such as Singapore and Hong Kong," disclosed Pacita U. Juan, chief executive officer of Figaro.

Juan said proceeds from the IPO will be used to fund the establishment of more Figaro outlets in key growth areas in Visayas and Mindanao. Currently, the company operates 53 outlets, mostly in Metro Manila, two in Baguio and one in Davao.

"We have been getting a lot of inquiries especially from key growth centers outside of Metro Manila. We want to eventually have at least one outlet in major cities nationwide. Our existing supply chain, including our commissaries, has the capacity to absorb the requirements of 90 stores," noted Juan.

By end 2006, Figaro will open its first outlet in Metro Cebu and 12 additional stores will be launched in 2007.

In its bid to increase its presence overseas, Figaro will open two more outlets in emerging economic powerhouse China before the end of this year, in the financial district of Shanghai City where two outlets were launched in 2005.

"China is a big market, and its consumers are taking to coffee more than ever in recent years," Juan said.

Figaro is also studying the possibility of expanding in the Middle East, including opening more outlets in Dubai, United Arab Emirates where the company opened its first store last year.

Juan said the company’s prospects for expansion are bright.

Figaro which stands toe-to-toe with international coffee giants Starbucks and Seattle’s Best, has its local sales growing at the rate of 20 percent annually. It’s market share is estimated at 30 percent. She noted that domestic coffee consumption is increasing at three percent annually which assures steady demand for the product.

Juan said Figaro’s medium-term plans include exporting organic Barako or Liberica coffee which will be grown in Amadeo, Cavite. The company also hopes to export organic Arabica coffee that will be sourced in Benguet and in Kalinga, Ifugao.

She said the company is being assisted in this effort by the German Development Service which helped in establishing an organic coffee quality control system with coffee farmers‚ cooperatives in provinces like the Cordilleras.

At the same time, Figaro has commissioned international organic certifying body, Naturland Verband of Germany to monitor its pilot organic coffee farms and to ensure farmers implement good agricultural practices before certifying the Barako and Arabica coffee produce as organic. Naturland is accredited by the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Organic Program and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements.

"There is a huge demand for organic coffee in Europe, particularly Germany, the US and Japan. I believe that like East Africa which is a poor region like the Philippines, we can do the same," said Juan, noting that East Africa is now the world’s biggest organic coffee producer, along with Mexico.

Figaro, a 100 percent Filipino-owned company, started operations in 1993. Its product lines include specialty roasted local coffee varieties and various coffee-related paraphernalia. The company does not own roasting facilities but employs the facilities of a sister company, Boyd’s Coffee Co.

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