A BILLION REASONS FOR RFG TO THANK DI BELLA

A BILLION REASONS FOR RFG TO THANK DI BELLA

SHARES in listed franchisor Retail Food Group (ASX: RFG) shot to a record high this week as the company's market capitalisation firmly settles above the $1 billion mark.

It may not have been the driving force behind a price spurt, but the benchmark high coincided with RFG sealing its $30 million buyout of Brisbane's Di Bella Coffee Group.

RFG shares hit a high of $6.58 in Thursday's trading, lifting the company's market value to $1.048 billion.

RFG now joins G8 Education as the Gold Coast's only listed companies with a billion-dollar-plus market value. The rise follows a slew of acquisitions by RFG this past year, including Di Bella Coffee Group and the US-based Gloria Jean's Coffee, and comes ahead of the company's interim profit results due next week.

The share purchase agreement for Di Bella, worth $30 million and announced in November, settled on Wednesday.

It marks a new chapter in the business career of former Brisbane Young Entrepreneur of the Year Phillip Di Bella, who retains his position within the group he founded.

Di Bella is expected to continue driving the business forward in a hands-on role with existing staff to remain in place.

The Di Bella buyout, which adds to RFG's suite of significant acquisitions this past year including the US-based Gloria Jean's Coffee, comprises $27.4 million in cash and $2.6 million in RFG shares.

RFG chief executive Tony Alford says both the due diligence conducted by RFG and the year to date performance of Di Bella Coffee Group has affirmed RFG's decision to acquire the specialist coffee house.

"Not only does the transaction provide RFG with an immediate and genuine footprint within the specialist coffee market, it complements and completes the company's coffee and allied beverages strategy via the establishment of tangible service platforms within franchise system, 'in home', contract roasting and specialty coffee markets," Alford says.

RFG says further details regarding the deal will be revealed when it releases its profit results next week.

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