Mitsui expands investment in Vietnamese shrimp with agri identified as growth area

The Japanese investment giant has acquired stake in Minh Phu Seafood after first investing in an affiliated company in 2013.

Japanese investment firm Mitsui & Co has acquired a 35.1 percent equity stake in Vietnamese shrimp producer Minh Phu Seafood for approximately $150 million.

Minh Phu bills itself as the “world’s biggest shrimp integrator from farming to processing and sales” and owns two processing plants and shrimp farms covering an area equivalent to 900 hectares in southern Vietnam. It exports its products to more than 50 countries, including the US and Japan, and accounts for approximately 20 percent of Vietnam’s shrimp exports.

A spokeswoman for the firm said: “Production regions for the shrimp farming business are limited to South-East Asia and Latin America, and the key players are mainly small and medium-scale businesses, so there is potential to achieve expansive growth through industrialization.”

The firm aims to expand Minh Phu by centralizing farming operations and establishing more stable manufacturing and supply systems for added-value processed products, she said.

Mitsui previously invested in Vietnamese shrimp production in October 2013 when it took a 30.8 percent stake in Minh Phu Hau Giang, a business affiliated with Minh Phu Seafood that operates one of its processing plants.

The Japanese firm will continue to hold its stake in the affiliate, but will switch focus to the parent company “to enhance corporate value by improving management efficiency and marketing systems across the entire group”, its spokeswoman said.

Mitsui representative director Kenichi Hori said in a statement: “By increasing our investment in Minh Phu and supporting its growth strategy we aim to strengthen earnings from our food business, and respond to growing demand for protein, particularly from a growing middle class in Asia.”

The firm declined to comment on potential future investments in the agribusiness sector other than to say that it has identified food and agriculture as a new growth area under its medium-term management plan.

Its activity in the sector last year saw it purchase an 8.5 percent equity stake in the listed Singapore-headquartered food importer and processor FKS Food & Agri alongside the Development Bank of Japan, as well as the separate acquisition of Singapore sugar company SIS. It has also owned Thailand-based sugar manufacturer KSP since 1994.