Tantocos get Hong Kong partner for Rustan's supermarkets

Posted at 05/07/2012 4:51 PM | Updated as of 05/08/2012 12:40 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Tantoco family behind the Rustan's retail empire has gotten a unit of Hong Kong's Jardine Matheson as its partner in their supermarket business.

Jardine's Dairy Farm bought 50% of Rustan's Supercenters Inc. (RSCI), operator of the Tantoco family's supermarket businesses, for an undisclosed amount, Rustan's said in a statement.

Dairy Farm -- which operates Wellcome, Guardian, Mannings and other stores in Hong Kong, China and 9 other countries -- bought the stake from the Tantoco family, the Spinnaker group and a "small" portion of new shares from Rustan's itself, according to chief financial officer May Siy.

Spinnaker, which first invested in Rustan's in 2008, had 14% at the time of the sale, she said.

Rustan's Supercenters owns Rustan's Supermarkets and Expresslanes and the Shopwise hypermarkets. It also owns the group's smaller Benny's Cafe and Gourmet-to-Go businesses. It competes with Henry Sy's SM supermarkets, John Gokongwei's Robinsons supermarkets, among others.

Rustan's was started by Bienvenido and Gliceria Tantoco in the 1950s, when they sold luxury goods out of their home, creating their flagship department store business. The family and its members now also own Stores Specialists Inc. (which holds the local licenses of everything from Aerosoles to Zara), Starbucks Philippines and Santa Elena Properties. These deparment store and these other businesses aren't owned by Rustan's Supercenters.

Rustan's Supercenters said it will benefit from Dairy Farm’s extensive pan-Asian operations, its expertise in various retail formats, strong balance sheet, and its membership in the Jardine Matheson Group. 

"This undertaking will not only strengthen Rustans Supercenters Inc.'s position as a leading retailer in the country, but it will also translate to more employment for Filipinos, more value and choices for customers, and enhanced shareholder value," Bienvenido "Donnie" Tantoco, III, who will remain president and CEO of RSCI, said in the statement.