EGYPT – Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co. has strengthened its presence in the food sector with an undisclosed stake in Egypt-based Wadi Poultry.

The Tokyo-headquartered Mitsui has reached an agreement with Wadi and its related subsidiaries for the share acquisition, marking a strategic move into the poultry and agri-food industry.

Wadi Poultry, based in Giza, Egypt, is part of the Wadi Group holding company and operates in three key segments: Mazereh (food production and agri-food), Dawagen (poultry processing and breeding), and Sina’at (animal feed).

The company’s diverse portfolio includes olive oils, olives, pickles, pastes, vinegar, chicken farming, and animal feed production.

Mitsui’s share acquisition will result in Wadi Poultry’s holding company becoming an associated company of Mitsui. The financial terms and size of the investment interest have not been disclosed.

The move into the poultry industry aligns with Mitsui’s broader strategy of developing an integrated production business covering all stages from feed grain procurement to broiler production, processing, meat packing, and food manufacturing and distribution.

Mitsui and its subsidiary, Prifoods Co., have been actively involved in this integrated approach, especially in Japan and other Asian countries.

In a statement, Mitsui highlighted the significance of chicken meat in emerging economies, where demand is expected to rise alongside population and economic growth due to its high feed efficiency, fewer religious constraints, and relatively affordable pricing.

This investment follows Mitsui’s trend of expanding its footprint in the food sector. Earlier in 2023, the company acquired an undisclosed interest in Italy’s rice supplier Euricom.

In 2021, Mitsui bought a majority stake in Japan’s frozen desserts maker Goyo Foods, and in 2019, it invested in Vietnam’s seafood business Minh Phu.

The acquisition of a stake in Wadi Poultry is seen as a move to further expand the added value of Mitsui’s food and nutrition business cluster.

Wadi Group acknowledged the investment on its website, stating that the aim is to expand Wadi’s agri-business locally in Egypt and for export, considering Egypt as one of the largest and fastest-growing markets in Africa in terms of population.

The Wadi Group generates revenue of US$350 million and employs 2,600 people, according to its website. Mitsui reported group revenue of Y14.3 trillion (US$95.5 billion) in the fiscal year ending on March 31, with a profit attributable to shareholders of Y1.13 trillion.