3 Things You Should Know About ABR Holdings

ABRIf you’ve got kids you’re likely to have been an ABR Holdings Limited (SGX: 533) customer at least once – after all, the Food and Beverage (F&B) group holds, amongst many others, the franchise for a Singaporean ice cream institution, Swenson’s.


ABR Holdings Limited began life in 1978, as the owner and operator of the first, full-service Swensen’s restaurant in Singapore after obtaining the franchise from its parent company in the USA.

Swensen’s proved a huge hit, with many Singaporean children being rewarded for good grades with a trip to the popular American-styled ice-cream parlour.

Frozen Yoghurt  

Icy desserts were always going to be popular on a sunny island and various ears at ABR Holdings pricked up at news of a revolutionary new concept from Canada that was being touted as a delicious, healthy alternative to ice cream – frozen yoghurt.

ABR Holdings took on the franchise for the Canadian frozen yoghurt company “Yogen Fruz” and Singaporeans were soon queuing for its made-to-order Frozen Yoghurt (FroYo) cups, complete with fresh fruit toppings.

From then on the company continued to take on F&B franchises. In 2006, it took on the Japanese-style pizza delivery business Oishi Pizza and broke into the increasingly popular coffee culture market by buying a 50% stake in the master franchise of Australian chain Gloria Jean’s Coffee.

The company followed up with the acquisition of popular Parisian Restaurant Grill Hippopotamus and local snack chain Tip Top Curry Puffs in 2010.

It also bought, and subsequently sold the franchise for confectionery chain The Cocoa Trees under the subsidiary Focus Network Agencies Pte. Ltd.

But did you know…

  1. Oishi means delicious in Japanese
  2. American Earle Swensen, founder of the original Swensen’s Ice Cream Shoppe in San Francisco learnt how to make ice cream whilst serving on a Navy troop ship in World War II.
  3. The Swensen’s Earthquake Sundae – a dish containing eight scoops of ice cream slathered with cream, flaked almonds, chocolate, hot fudge or butterscotch sauce, marshmallows and cherries, which would arrive at the table in smoking splendour is a fond memory for many Singaporeans. It’s still on the menu but you’ll have to manage without the smoke, as it’s sadly no longer served with dry ice.

Today, ABR Holdings remains a food and beverage company, managing, franchising and operating a portfolio of well-known brands including Swensens, Earle Swensens, Hippopotamus, Yogen Fruz, Gloria Jean’s Coffees, Oishi Pizza, Tip Top Curry Puffs and Season’s Cafe in Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and China. It is also involved in the processing, baking and trading of bread, cakes and confectionery.

As for the future, the group is keen to begin to diversify into property to “provide shareholders with diversified returns and long term growth”.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Alison Hunt doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.