Carlyle acquires Japanese beansprout brand

The firm has made more than 20 investments across three Japan-dedicated buyout funds.

Private equity giant The Carlyle Group has invested an undisclosed sum in GGC Group, the owner of Kyushu GGC and beansprout brand Meisui Bijin, the firm said.

Carlyle’s investment in GGC Group will be used to expand the company’s presence in Japan’s fast-growing pre-cut vegetable market and to prepare it for overseas markets. The current management continue to run the business, Carlyle said in a statement.

Kazuhiro Yamada, managing director of Carlyle Japan said: “Bean sprouts are among the most popular items at supermarkets in Japan after milk and eggs, and have long been an essential ingredient in Japanese cuisine. With natural water resources and advanced production technologies and supply chain management, GGC Group is known for manufacturing safe and high-quality bean sprouts. As the number one bean sprout manufacturer in western Japan, GGC Group is well-positioned for further growth and expansion.”

The deal was structured through Carlyle Japan Partners III, a 2013-vintage vehicle that closed on yen 119.5 billion ($1 billion; €920 million).

Other investments from Carlyle’s third Japan buyout fund are in mortgage bank Aruhi Corporation, snack manufacturer Oyatsu, building components company Senqcia and healthcare company Sunsho Pharmaceutical.

The fund has drawn commitments from the Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois and New Hampshire Retirement System, according to PEI Research & Analytics.

Carlyle has three buyout funds in Japan, which have made more than 20 investments in local mid-cap companies.

The first of these was established in 2001 at yen 50 billion and has made seven investments in sectors including healthcare, industrial equipment, automobiles, business outsourcing, media and telecommunications. Its second fund closed on JPY 165.6 billion in 2006, a much bigger vehicle than its predecessor, which has invested in pub-restaurant operator Chimney, software company Broadleaf and LCD glass company AvanStrate.

The firm has $183 billion of assets under management across 126 funds and 160 fund of funds vehicles.