Itoham Yonekyu increases Anzco stake

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

Itoham Yonekyu increases Anzco stake

Related tags Subsidiary Beef Lamb

Japanese food business Itoham Yonekyu Holdings has increased its shareholding in New Zealand meat processor Anzco from 65% to 100%.

Made through its fully-owned subsidiary Itoham Foods Inc, Itoham Yonekyu has received Ministerial consent under the Overseas Investment Act to complete the purchase.

According to Anzco founder Sir Graeme Harrison, Itoham Yonekyu’s move to take full ownership of Anzco Foods is a “strong vote of confidence in the New Zealand meat sector”​.

“Anzco Foods is an important part of the company’s strategy to grow its business internationally, particularly in Asian markets outside Japan,” he said. “Anzco Foods will be able to capitalise on synergy benefits and efficiencies from the considerable experience and networks of Itoham Yonekyu and Mitsubishi Corporation.”

This change in the ownership of Anzco Foods is the final step in a planned succession process for the business, with Harrison expected to retire at the next Annual General Meeting in March 2018.

In 2016, Anzco Foods was New Zealand’s fifth-largest exporter and second-largest meat industry-related business, with an annual turnover of AUS$1.45 billion. The company has 3,000 employees, mainly in regional New Zealand, and a network of eight offshore offices. Itoham Yonekyu has signalled that it will not be making any significant changes to the business operations of Anzco Foods in the “foreseeable​” future.

Anzco Foods is currently 82.35% overseas owned. This increase in Itoham Yonekyu’s shareholding will come from the purchase of all shares now held by Nippon Suisan Kaisha Ltd (Nissui), and Anzco Foods directors and management. Nissui holds 16.76% of the shares while the chairman of Anzco Foods, Sir Graeme Harrison, and management have 18.24%.

In April 2016, Itoham Foods Inc became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Itoham Yonekyu Holdings Inc. Itoham Yonekyu was created as a vehicle for the merger of the businesses of Itoham Foods and Yonekyu Corporation, which at the time of the merger were the second- and seventh-largest meat processing and marketing companies in Japan.

This deal will see Nissui end its long financial association with Anzco Foods, which dates back to 1989. Nissui is a 50% shareholder, with Maori, in the Sealord Group. Sir Graeme Harrison has been a Nissui appointed director on the Sealord board since 2001 and will retire from that position at the end of this year.

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