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Japan’s food product company Ajinomoto acquires French Labeyrie frozen food unit

| Biz News, Investment & Acquisition | 08/04/2017


Ajinomoto Co., Inc. Strengthens Its Business Platform for Consumer Foods in Europe

Acquisition of Frozen Food Company LABEYRIE TRAITEUR SURGELÉS S.A.S. of France

Date: July 26, 2017
Source: Ajinomoto Co., Inc.

TOKYO, July 20, 2017 – Ajinomoto Co., Inc. (“Ajinomoto Co.”) has decided to acquire LABEYRIE TRAITEUR SURGELÉS S.A.S. (“LTS”) of France through its consolidated subsidiary AJINOMOTO FOODS EUROPE S.A.S. (”AFE”), which signed a share purchase agreement with LABEYRIE FINE FOODS S.A.S. (“LFF”), the parent company of LTS, on July 19, 2017 (local time). Through this acquisition, Ajinomoto Co. will expand and enhance its business platform for frozen foods in France by combining LTS’s production base and market reach in the home-use sales channel with the Ajinomoto Group’s specialty (product development and production technology
capabilities). Going forward, Ajinomoto Co. will further strengthen its consumer foods business in Europe and accelerate growth.

The frozen food market in Europe is huge, at approximately EUR 41 billion (approximately JPY 5.2 trillion;* source: Euromonitor 2016) in 2015, and is growing steadily. The Asian market segment has continued to grow by double digits in recent years, reaching approximately EUR 500 million (approximately JPY 64 billion;
Ajinomoto Co. estimate for 2016). Sales of AFE’s consumer foods business in fiscal 2016 totaled approximately EUR 45 million (approximately JPY 5.8 billion), mainly comprising sales of frozen foods for restaurant use.

LTS is a frozen foods operating subsidiary of LFF, which mainly manufactures and sells chilled foods such as foie gras and smoked salmon. Its net sales for fiscal 2016 were approximately EUR 50 million (approximately JPY 6.4 billion). Currently conducting business centered on France, LTS sells LABEYRIE products, which are the No. 1 brand in France for high-quality desserts and apéritifs (bite-sized puff pastry), Blini brand products, pies, risotto and other products to major distributors. With this acquisition, Ajinomoto Co. intends to expand and enhance its business platform for frozen foods in France by capitalizing on its strength in gyoza products to expand sales of Ajinomoto Group products through LTS’s home-use sales channel, and by selling LTS products through Ajinomoto Co.’s existing restaurant-use sales channel. Ajinomoto Co. will also roll out LTS’s high-quality products to other countries.

The planned acquisition price, which is based on an enterprise value of EUR 21 million (approximately JPY 2.7 billion) and will include the total of the consideration for all shares of LTS and the receivables that LFF holds for LTS, will be fixed after AFE’s acquisition of all shares of LTS, which is scheduled for November 2017.

In its FY2017-2019 Medium-Term Management Plan, Ajinomoto Co. has set a key strategy of ensuring growth in its foods products business with a stronger regional portfolio, and aims to be the clear No. 1 in the Asian frozen foods market by rolling out its specialty products in North America and Europe. Ajinomoto Co. will contribute to the health and well-being of local consumers through the development of product categories adapted to local eating habits and food culture.
The impact of the acquisition on Ajinomoto Co.’s business results for fiscal 2017 will be immaterial.
* EUR 1 = JPY 127.97 (exchange rate as of June 30, 2017)

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