PAG Invests in Boutique Coffee Brand %Arabica

PAG has completed investment in Chinese gourmet coffee brand %Arabica, becoming a major shareholder of the firm, local media outlet Such Bright reported on Tuesday.

According to a report by IPO Zaozhidao on Monday, PAG has submitted a prospectus to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx), in which %Arabica has been included in its portfolio.

According to domestic corporate data platform Tianyancha, Shanghai Labica Coffee Co., Ltd. is the main operator of %Arabica within China, and the controlling shareholder of the company is currently listed as Lucky Ace International Limited.

One of the directors of Lucky Ace is Huang Dewei. According to PAG’s prospectus, Huang joined PAG in March 2011, and is currently a partner of PAG and co-head of private equity.

%Arabica has come a long way since founder Kenneth Shoji established its flagship store in the ancient Japanese city of Kyoto in 2014. In 2015, %Arabica became a globally popular brand and was introduced to Hong Kong with a flourish in 2017, with the opening of two concept stores.

According to %Arabica’s official website, it currently has 57 stores in China, including 12 in Shanghai, nine in Hong Kong and one in Macao. The first store in mainland China opened in Shanghai in 2018. %Arabica’s main products include espresso, macchiato, latte and americano, as well as sparkling water, lemonade and coffee beans.

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On February 25, Blue Bottle, a competitor of %Arabica, opened its first store in Shanghai. The price of products in the store was 28-48 yuan ($4.4-$7.5) – close to that of %Arabica. The location of the second store of Blue Bottle in Shanghai has also been confirmed, and is expected to open in the near future.