Troubled Mr. Pizza heads for Kosdaq delisting

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Troubled Mr. Pizza heads for Kosdaq delisting

Troubled pizza company MP Group may soon be delisted from the Kosdaq after nine years on the exchange.

Korea Exchange announced Monday that a committee on corporate evaluation agreed to delist the company, which operates pizza franchise Mr. Pizza, from the secondary board. Another committee, which is specifically responsible for Kosdaq listings, will reach a final decision by Dec. 24 on whether to delist MP Group or grant it time to its improve performance.

Chances are high that the MP Group will face delisting by the end of this month. The company had already been given 12 months last October to address issues of concern, but was unable to turn its finances around.

MP Group recorded 11.14 billion won ($10.07 million) in net losses last year, according to the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS). The situation only improved somewhat this year, with the company reporting 1.04 billion won of net losses in the first three quarters of 2018.

At the height of its popularity, Mr. Pizza was Korea’s largest pizza chain, with around 433 franchisees in 2014. Though the Mr. Pizza brand started off in Japan, it was in Korea where it became a huge success, riding a wave in the domestic pizza market.

Jung Woo-hyun, a former chairman, introduced the first Mr. Pizza store in Korea in 1990 and eventually bought the Japanese parent in 1996. By August 2009, MP Group was listed on the Kosdaq.

The pizza company’s affairs took a dramatic turn for the worse in 2016 when Jung made headlines for a series of alleged offenses, ranging from the physical assault of a security guard to fair-trade violations.

As accusations continued to surface of Jung and the MP Group’s gapjil, or abuse of power, consumers turned their backs on the franchise. The reaction took a toll on MP Group’s profits, and the number of Mr. Pizza stores quickly dropped.

The biggest blow came last July when Jung was arrested for embezzlement and breach of trust.

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