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Mitsubishi to launch Thai poultry processing joint venture

Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi – globally renowned for its 4-wheel drive vehicles – is set to move more deeply into the poultry meat market.

Mitsubishi Corp, which currently employs more than 60,000 people across 7 business segments including food, plans to open a plant in Thailand under a joint venture with local food company Betagro Group.

The new plant, due to open in October, will be based about 90km north of Bangkok and will produce around 30,000 tons of processed chicken meat a year. Photo: Wikimedia / Gran
The new plant, due to open in October, will be based about 90km north of Bangkok and will produce around 30,000 tons of processed chicken meat a year. Photo: Wikimedia / Gran

And if the 6 billion yen ($53.2m) poultry processing plant is successful, the company will consider applying its expertise to grow markets in Europe and the Middle East.

The announcement follows Suzuki’s plans at the end of last year to use its expertise in transport logistics to move into the burgeoning middle/upper-class egg market.

The new plant, due to open in October, will be based about 90km north of Bangkok and will produce around 30,000 tons of processed chicken meat a year. It plans to export much of the meat to Japan, although there will also be domestic sales and exports to Singapore and Hong Kong.

Poultry in Japan

Until now, Mitsubishi’s poultry interests have been based in Japan where it owns convenience store operator Lawson, which sells a range of fried chicken snacks. Asia Nikkei reported that it holds a stake in KFC Holdings Japan, a local unit of the US fried chicken fast food chain.

Mitsubishi will take a 50% stake in the joint venture, while Betagro and Itoham Yonekyu Holdings will each have 25%. A Betagro subsidiary processes 90m broiler a year north of the planned factory and this site will be the main supplier of chicken meat for the new processing plant.

The Japanese poultry meat market has been rising in the past three years and imports from Thailand grew by double digits for the past two years.

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