JIA Group aims to raise $65m for restaurants

Aiming to raise HK$64.5 million (US$8.2 million) for restaurant ventures, JIA Group Holdings is issuing 215 million 30-cent shares.

Chairperson Yenn Wong Pui-yain says it plans to use 56.5 per cent of the $13.6 million net proceeds to open restaurants, including one at Tai Kwun, the former Central Police Station Compound.

Another restaurant, targeting young professionals for happy-hour dining, is planned for the third quarter.

Wong says six of the group’s 10 restaurants have yet to make a profit, but she believes there will be a turnaround in the coming years. Meanwhile, the restaurants will rein in their expenditure, she says.

The group recorded a net loss in 2016 and for the seven months ended July.

Meanwhile, the restaurant group will debut on the Growth Enterprise Market on Thursday.

Founded and chaired by Wong, the daughter-in-law of Gold Peak Industries chairman Victor Lo Chung-wing, the group has many wealthy second-generation celebrities as shareholders, reports The Standard.

Wong holds about 60 per cent of the group and will remain controlling shareholder following the public float.

Another controlling shareholding company, Giant Mind, which is 89.8 per cent owned by Wong and 10.2 per cent owned by her sister-in-law Grace Lo Kit-yee, will be fully owned by Wong after a share repurchase, post-listing.

Hotel first

Wong, 39, opened Hong Kong’s first designer boutique hotel J Plus in Causeway Bay when she was 25. She then entered the restaurant sector in Singapore and Shanghai.

One of her business partners is her restaurateur husband Alan Lo Yeung-kit. The couple and another shareholder, Paulo Pong Kin-yee, grandson of steel magnate Pong Ding-yuen and son-in-law of New World Development chairman Henry Cheng Kar-shun, jointly set up Duddell’s in 2013. The flagship of JIA Group, Duddell’s was awarded a Michelin Star in 2014 and was given a second star the following year.

Pong established the boutique wholesale wine merchant Altaya Wines in 2001 instead of taking over his family business, Shiu Wing Steel.

Other JIA group shareholders include Stanley Sun Tao-hung, grandson of the founder of China-Hongkong Photo Products Holdings, and Darrin Woo, nephew of Henry Wu King-cheong, former president of the Chinese Gold and Silver Exchange Society.

Meanwhile, Classified Group, founded by Wong’s husband Lo and Pong, was listed in June.

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