Japan’s Mitsui buys 35% stake in Vietnam-based Minh Phu for $150m

Mitsui & Co, one of Japan’s largest trading groups, has agreed to invest approximately $150 million in Vietnam-based shrimp processor Minh Phu Seafood in exchange for a 35.1 per cent stake.

Minh Phu had earlier confirmed that Mitsui was amongst investors interested in its private placement of 75.72 million shares, which was valued at slightly over $150 million.

In a statement on Thursday, the Japanese firm said that its investment in Minh Phu, the world’s largest shrimp integrator from farming to processing and sales, “aligns with Mitsui’s wider focus on the nutrition and agricultural sector as a key growth area for its business”.

Minh Phu owns two processing plants and shrimp farms equivalent to an area of 900 hectares in southern Vietnam. Its products are exported to around 50 countries, including the US and Japan, accounting for about 20 per cent of Vietnam’s total shrimp exports.

Mitsui said its investment will help Minh Phu expand to new markets such as China, Europe, Russia and the Middle East, as well as modernise its plants using digital technology and artificial intelligence.

“Drawing on our global presence and business experience, we look forward to working with Minh Phu to expand production, enhance operations, and grow international sales. In our medium-term management plan, we have identified nutrition and agriculture as a strategic growth area for our business.  By increasing our investment in Minh Phu and supporting its growth strategy we aim to strengthen earnings from our food business, and respond to global demand for protein,” said Kenichi Hori, representative director of Mitsui.

Prior to this investment, the Japanese major had invested in one of Minh Phu’s affiliates, Minh Phu Hau Giang.

Taku Morimoto, COO of Mitsui’s Asia Pacific unit, said: “This is a great example of Mitsui’s local business origination capabilities. Since investing in Minh Phu Hau Giang, we have formed a strong partnership with the company locally through our operations in Vietnam.”

Mitsui has a longstanding presence in Vietnam, with core activities in the country in import, export and investment across the industries of steel, minerals and metals, energy, chemicals, food, consumer services, information technology and infrastructure.

Mitsui has strengthened its foothold in Southeast Asia through a series of acquisitions, including FKS Food & Agri and sugar refining company SIS’88 in Singapore, Kaset Phol Sugar in Thailand, and IHH Healthcare, hospital group Columbia Asia and Axiata Digital in Malaysia.