Ting Hsin Weighing $800 Million IPO of KFC’s Chinese Rival

(Bloomberg) -- Ting Hsin International Group, the Taiwanese food company behind the Master Kong brand, is weighing a Hong Kong initial public offering of its restaurant business in mainland China, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The firm has invited banks to pitch for a role on the listing, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. The Taiwanese company may include restaurant chains Dicos, a prominent fried chicken brand, and Master Kong Chef’s Table, which specializes in Taiwan-style beef noodles, in the Hong Kong listing, the people said. The IPO could raise about $800 million, one of the people said.

Deliberations are at an early stage and the company may decide not to pursue an IPO, the people said. A representative for Ting Hsin couldn’t immediately comment.

Dicos operates about 2,600 outlets across China and has more than 70,000 employees serving 600 million customers annually, according to a press release. It announced in January that it has added plant-based egg substitute JUST Egg to its menu at over 500 locations in China.

The chain ranks third in China by market share among limited service restaurants, which comprise fast food and fully-takeaway outlets, according to market research provider Euromonitor International. Dicos’ 1.2% share puts it behind only Yum China Holdings Inc.’s KFC and McDonald’s Corp. in the country.

Ting Hsin is a major shareholder in Tingyi (Cayman Island) Holding Corp., a Hong Kong-listed firm that sells Master Kong-branded noodles, teas and juices, and which is PepsiCo Inc.’s official partner in China.