Popiah King to expand his empire

Popiah King to expand his empire

"Popiah King" Sam Goi has hit the investing trail, taking huge stakes in two listed food companies in recent months and setting the market abuzz over which firm he will set his sights on next.

But market watchers looking at where he might put his money next will be sorely disappointed: Mr Goi, 66, is done investing in listed firms, for now.

Instead, the executive chairman of food company Tee Yih Jia (TYJ) revealed that he plans to acquire more than 10 private food companies in the region over the next two years, and add them to his company's stable before considering listing his firm.

This includes countries such as China, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia.

He said: "I want to acquire more than 10 private food companies in the next two years and make them part of Tee Yih Jia. It would not be easy to acquire them after listing."

Mr Goi added that he has no immediate plans to invest into listed food companies.

His decision will likely disappoint market punters, who had quickly bought up the stock of the companies he had invested in.

The share prices of the two companies - condensed milk producer Etika International and cocoa ingredient maker JB Foods - have soared by more than 50 per cent since Mr Goi's TYJ Group invested in them.

Since Dec 6, when it was announced that Mr Goi's company planned to invest in it, Etika's shares have soared 63 per cent from 25.5 cents to 41.5 cents on Wednesday. Mr Goi sees great potential for Etika's milk exports to grow overseas, especially in China, where it can tap TYJ's existing network.

As for JB Foods, its shares have jumped 52 per cent from 31 cents on Jan 23 - the day TYJ's investment was announced - to 47 cents on Wednesday.

Mr Goi sees a big market for cocoa in China, and hopes to lend his expertise to increase its capacity and grow its own brands.

This has prompted some market watchers to label this as the "Sam Goi effect", for the keen interest and red-hot surge in those two counters since his entry.

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