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illy (Italy) Korea Signs Franchise Agreement with Curo Holdings

12 Dec 2017 - The Korean unit of Italian coffee roasting company illy has signed a master franchise agreement with Curo Holdings -- a local entertainment and coffee distributing firm -- to give it exclusive rights to sell its products for three years, according to news reports on Dec. 11.

Curo Holdings can start selling illy products from Jan. 1. It can also extend the contract for two years after it expires in 2020.

This is not the first time that Curo Holdings has established ties with the Italian firm. It first signed a contract with the coffee maker to distribute its coffee beans and related products such as capsule coffee machines in 2007. The company, however, could not extend its contract in 2016 after illy decided to conduct its Korean business without external partners. However, illy has reportedly decided to team up with Curo Holdings again due to its recent drop in sales.

Curo Holdings’ affiliate Curo F&B also has been operating illy’s franchise cafés here since 2007. In September last year, it successfully extended its contract until 2020.

“We will aim to accelerate the sales of coffee capsule machines in Korea,” Curo Holdings CEO Cho Jung-gi said in a statement. He also added that the company aims to run 150 illy coffee stores over the next five years.

Curo Holdings was established in 1987 and is well-known for its entertainment business here. The company has been expanding through mergers and acquisitions. Last year, it acquired the entire stake of PI Entertainment for 1 billion won (US$0.91 million).

The Investor