Japanese trading company Mitsui & Co has acquired a 70% stake in a joint venture with Celanese, Nutrinova, for around US$472.5m. Nutrinova was owned by US chemical company Celanese Corporation. Nutrinova employs over 200 people, in the Netherlands, Germany and France and manufactures and sells the high-intensity sweetener acesulfame potassium, which is used in food, beverages, and other products, as well as the preservatives sorbic acid and potassium sorbates.
Mitsui says this in line with one of its key strategic initiatives in its Medium-term Management Plan 2026 – that in addition to healthcare and prevention, “we will contribute to improvement in quality of life through provision of healthy foods and nutrition”. Not quite sure that artificial sweeteners will be see by everyone as being a healthy food, given the continuing controversy over aspartame. It also represents a new line of business for Mitsui in Europe, as up until now most of its investments in related sectors were in agrochemicals rather than food ingredients.
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