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Ajinomoto set to thaw Europe with multi-million euro takeover

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Oscar Rousseau

By Oscar Rousseau+

Last updated on 27-Jul-2017 at 14:23 GMT2017-07-27T14:23:52Z

Ajinomoto launched a three-year to become a frozen food leader this year
Ajinomoto launched a three-year to become a frozen food leader this year

Japanese food giant Ajinomoto has fired up its European growth plans with the acquisition of France’s frozen food business Labeyrie Traiteur Surgelés (LTS) for an undisclosed sum.

LTS, valued at €21 million, will be bought from parent company Labeyrie Fine Foods (LFF) via Parisian subsidiary Ajinomoto Foods Europe.

Ajinomoto said the deal would “expand and enhance” its frozen food range by combining LTS’ production base and market reach with its own knowledge of product development and processing technology.

It’s an acquisition that will see the Japanese business use the French company to drive sales of its gyoza dumpling products in Europe, while simultaneously selling LTS products through its existing channels in other countries, such as Asia.

Europe’s frozen food sector growing

The takeover falls within Ajinomoto’s three-year strategy to become the clear Asian leader in the frozen food market, which it intends to realise by rolling out a range of targeted products in the US and Europe.

With LTS as part of the mix, Ajinomoto said it hoped to strengthen its consumer-facing foods business across the continent and accelerate growth.

The deal comes at a good time, too: Europe’s frozen food market was valued last year at €41bn by Euromonitor, and targeting a region home to more than 500 million consumers certainly falls in line with Ajinomoto’s growth strategy.

Parent company LFF largely manufactures chilled foods such as foie gras and smoked salmon, while the subsidiary it has decided to sell to Ajinomoto, LTS, produces frozen meat and seafood pies, desserts and aperitifs. LTS reported roughly €50m in pre-tax sales last year.

The planned acquisition price has not been disclosed, although Ajinomoto said it would be based around the €21m enterprise value of LTS. The deal will include all shares held in the business, with the acquisition slated for completion in November this year.

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