Johnsonville-Frabelle joint venture opens big opportunities for PH

Johnsonville-Frabelle joint venture opens big opportunities for PH
DREAM TEAM - (From left) Nick Meriggioli, Johnsonville CEO; Fay Tiu Laurel-Bernardo, Frabelle Corporation president; Michael Stayer-Suprick, Johnsonville president and joint venture chair; and Nick Meriggioli, Johnsonville CEO, are all in to overseeing this historic joint venture between Frabelle Foods of the Philippines and Johnsonville of America to conquer new markets in Southeast Asia. (Photo By Monsi A. Serrano/THEPHILBIZNEWS)

Johnsonville-Frabelle joint venture opens big opportunities for PH
Text and Photo
by Monsi A. Serrano

After getting the green light from the Philippine Competition Commission, one of the most exciting joint ventures in Philippine food industry history has taken place, as Johnsonville, makers of America’s favorite sausages, and Frabelle Corporation (FBC) sealed their partnership.

Johnsonville International is one of the most famous brands of sausage in the US. Spanning 74 years of experience in perfecting their mouth watering sausages, Johnsonville is one of the largest sausage producers and the largest sausage brand by revenue in America. Frabelle is on the top 5 list of hotdog makers in the Philippines, with its known hotdog brands in the market like brands Bossing, Pinoy, and Cheezydog.

Fits to a ‘T’

Ms. Fay Tiu Laurel-Bernardo, President of Frabelle Foods, spoke to THEPHILBIZNEWS and pointed out that what makes the partnership amazing is that both Johnsonville and Frabelle are family-owned enterprises.

“In a family corporation like Frabelle, we treat all our employees and managers as family members, and with Johnsonville, (it’s) the same. They just call them (their) team. But regardless of how we call them, what is elating is the fact that we share the same values. For us, there lies the fit,” she said.

On the business side, the president of Frabelle Food said, “This joint venture is something that we are happy to achieve, because this would give us a better head start to expanding our product lines and at the same time the market penetration of Johnsonville in the Philippines. And hopefully we would also be able to expand in the region.”

“It’s a perfect synergy to say the least,” the Frabelle Food official concluded.

Meanwhile, Francis Tiu Laurel Jr., president of Frabelle Group, shared an interesting story to THEPHILBIZNEWS about the similarities of Johnsonville and Frabelle. The “Father of Johnsonville” has the same age as his father, Founder and Chairman of Frabelle Group, Mr. Francis Tiu Laurel, Sr. While, he and the son of Johnsonville have the same age.

“There is really a fit and it’s planned by God!” he said. “(But) what really makes us happy is… their willingness to partner with us and invest in the Philippines. So this is a great mutually beneficial partnership between two big players in the meat processing (industry) – one from the US and (one) in the Philippines. The trust is overwhelming and we are humbled by this,” he added.

Legacy continues

When we asked Frabelle’s Chairman and Founder, Mr.  Francis Tiu Laurel, Sr., about how he feels about this exciting development, the patriarch of Tiu Laurel said, “I am very elated. While this is not the first time we collaborate with foreign companies, this joint venture proves that my legacy would be carried on by my children and by the next generation.”

“It was not served on a silver platter,” he said of Frabelle’s growth. “It’s a combination of hard work, faith in God and having the right people who will work with you.”

Asked what the key to the success of Frabelle was, he replied: “Trust of the people. When you are trusted, everything else follows. For instance, when you are starting up a business and you need capital, having that trustworthiness is very crucial… in life and in any business. And of course, you must take care of your people and treat them like your family members. This will certainly boost their morale. If people accorded you the trust, trust them in return and make them accountable too.”

Johnsonville made in PH

When Johnsonville CEO, Mr. Nick Meriggioli was asked by THEPHILBIZNEWS what was to be expected down the road in this strategic alliance with Frabelle, he expressed optimism in seeing a bright future in the Frabelle and Johnsonville joint venture.

“Of course, we carefully studied this partnership and after all that is said and done, we are excited and really bullish that this would be one of the best ventures we did outside of the US. This would also give us competitive edge in market penetration within your region and as we go along, we can then plan for the pragmatic move to have the Johnsonville sausages be manufactured in the Philippines,” he added.

Johnsonville sausages are sold in more than 40 countries. Their high end sausage brand and lines are very famous and the preferred brand in the US and Canada.

Mr. Michael Stayer-Suprick, Johnsonville president and joint venture chair, said: “This partnership is exciting and fruitful. The moment we start manufacturing sausages in the Philippines, then it would certainly make our sausages more affordable to the other market even if it is in the high end market.”

When asked by THEPHILBIZNEWS why they chose to partner with Frabelle, the President of Johnsonville said: “This partnership came into being for one simple reason, because of Frabelle’s value on putting premium on employee care, a value also shared by Johnsonville. Apart from that, one makes Frabelle attractive to Johnsonville is its being customer and consumer centered.”

“Business wise, the partnership with Frabelle would provide rapid growth and expansion in the Asia region. Learning wise, we can exchange notes and see how we can both learn and grow together as strong partners in the meat processing industry,” Stayer-Suprick saidd.

More opportunities for PH

Unlike the usual adverse effect of joint ventures in which employees are displaced, Bernardo said this joint venture will pave way for future investments that would jumpstart an exciting growth.

“Partnering with an industry leader like Johnsonville would provide us the opportunity to share technical, marketing and product-innovation resources that will improve our current business and boost further our growth.”

“What is exciting for both companies is the fact that we will both learn and grow from each other,” she said.

While the joint venture is 51-49 share, favoring Johnsonville, Frabelle President is confident that the partnership will go a long way and nothing will change except the fact that the Filipino consumers can expect better quality, wide range of products and pricing options as Johnsonville prep ups to increase their presence in the Philippines and be able to penetrate other retail outlets in the Philippines which Frabelle has mastered to do in their hotdog and other meat products.

While the joint venture is 51-49 share, favoring Johnsonville, Frabelle President is confident that the partnership will go a long way and nothing will change except the fact that the Filipino consumers can expect better quality, wide range of products and pricing options as Johnsonville prep ups to increase their presence in the Philippines and be able to penetrate other retail outlets in the Philippines which Frabelle has mastered to do in their hotdog and other meat products.

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