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Jollibee confirms report it is eyeing Mexican food brand in the US

Philippine fast-food chain operator Jollibee Foods Corp. will acquire or work with a Mexican food brand in the U.S. for a joint venture, the company confirmed in a July 3 Philippine Stock Exchange filing.

The confirmation comes after newspaper The Philippine Star, citing an interview with Jollibee Chairman Tony Tan Caktiong, reported July 1 that the company is already in talks regarding a potential deal.

"There are already ongoing discussions but the company cannot disclose anything yet," Tan Caktiong told the paper, adding that the company is hoping to finalize a deal this year.

In the regulatory filing, Jollibee said: "The acquisition of new businesses has always been part of our growth strategy. The company keeps looking for opportunities for new business acquisitions as a matter of ongoing practice and it has ongoing discussions with potential targets. We do not mention the name of any company as a matter of policy."

The fast-food chain said in April that it has earmarked 12 billion Philippine pesos in capital expenditures this year to fund its expansion plans, which includes the construction of 200 stores locally and 300 stores overseas. The budget is 33.3% higher compared with its actual expenditures in the prior year.

Less than a month ago, Jollibee CEO Ernesto Tanmantiong told a news outlet in Canada that the company plans to open 100 stores in the country in the next five years.

As of July 2, US$1 was equivalent to 53.48 Philippine pesos.