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Ajinomoto: to invest in Hinoman of Israel

Tokyo / JP. (aci) Ajinomoto Company Incorporated reached an agreement with Hinoman Limited, a venture company in Israel, to conclude a contract to invest USD 15 million (approximately JPY 1.7 billion as of February 28, 2017) in Hinoman Limited and concurrently agreed to acquire the exclusive sales rights in Japan for Mankai, Hinoman Limited’s high-protein plant material with extraordinary nutritional value. Ajinomoto Company aims to establish a new business by promoting the development and sale of processed foods that use Mankai as well as sale of Mankai as an ingredient. By providing a sustainable product with extraordinary nutritional value to Japanese consumers, Ajinomoto Company will help to resolve the social issue of insufficient protein and amino acid nutrition.

In Japan, undernutrition and nutritional imbalance are emerging as a social issue for a wide range of generations including the elderly, and young women. Information on the amino acid composition of food has been expanded in the «Standard Tables of Food Composition in Japan – 2015» established by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and interest in protein and amino acid nutrition is increasing. However, the difficulty of ingesting a sufficient amount of protein just by eating meat and fish in daily meals is a problem. Demand is increasing for processed foods that can easily supply high-quality protein as one way of solving this problem. The market for foods consumed for protein exceeded approximately JPY 230 billion in 2016, an increase of 12 percent compared with 2010 (Ajinomoto Company survey), and it is expected to continue growing at an annual rate of 2 to 3 percent.

Mankai is a variety of the aquatic plant duckweed to which Hinoman Limited holds breeding rights in Israel. Its digestion and absorption efficiency in the body is superior to existing protein ingredients. It also has extraordinary nutritional value, containing vitamins, minerals, unsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3 fatty acids, and dietary fiber. Moreover, because Mankai can be cultivated in a short period with a relatively small amount of water, light and nutrients, it can be produced efficiently with a minimal ecological footprint. Hinoman Limited has developed the know-how to enable commercial production of Mankai with optimal energy usage. Ajinomoto Company will invest in Hinoman Limited by subscribing to a third-party allocation of new shares and by acquiring shares from current shareholders, and will acquire exclusive sales rights in Japan for Mankai. By combining Mankai, a high-protein plant material with extraordinary nutritional value, and its own seasoning and processing technologies and product development and marketing capabilities, Ajinomoto Company plans to develop new products with a well-balanced nutritional profile and sell them in the Japanese market.

The investment in Hinoman Limited is scheduled for late March 2017, and launches of products that use Mankai are scheduled for fiscal 2018 and thereafter. The impact of these matters on Ajinomoto Company’s results for fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017 is immaterial.

Providing products that use specialty materials and proprietary technologies is one of the ways that Ajinomoto Company contributes to resolving the social issues of global sustainability and food resources, as well as to the health and well-being of consumers, with the aim of becoming a Genuine Global Specialty Company.