Japan Restaurant Fund Seeks to Open Singapore’s First Asahi Bar

Seiki Takahashi, who has opened and managed more than 50 restaurants around the world, is seeking to raise $10 million from high-net-worth individuals to invest in Japanese eateries expanding abroad.

Takahashi said that he plans to raise the funds from domestic and overseas investors by the end of June.

“Japanese brands are appreciated in Asia,” said Takahashi, who was in fixed-income sales at Morgan Stanley in Tokyo for six years till 1992. “We want to bring those valued food and beverages as contents of lifestyle to other countries.”

The GP Asia Pacific Hospitality & Lifestyle LP was set up in December and is planning to invest in the first Asahi Super Dry Extra Cold Bar in Singapore by the end of the year, said Takahashi. The bars, which have been popular in countries such as Australia, Japan and Korea, serve Asahi Group Holdings Ltd.’s Super Dry Extra Cold Beer.

The fund owns the franchise rights to serve the beer served at a temperature below zero in Singapore.

It will also invest in at least five deals in Singapore, the U.S. and Hong Kong, including Miyabi Steak & Seafood House’s first restaurant in Denver, Colorado.

The fund targets an internal rate of return of 15 percent to 20 percent for a five-year investment period with an option of a two-year extension.

Takahashi, who also worked as the chief investment officer of a family office in Hong Kong, said that he wants to establish a track record so he can raise money for a second fund.

The number of Japanese restaurants overseas more than doubled to 55,000 by March 2013 from 24,000 in March 2006, according to the latest estimates available from Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Foreign visitors to Japan rated eating as the number one activity in a survey by the Japan Tourism Agency.

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