Ajinomoto acquires a swathe of US brands

Ajinomoto acquires a swathe of US brands

Japanese spice maker Ajinomoto Co. is expanding its presence in the US having struck a deal to acquire ethnic food maker Windsor Quality Holdings for around US$800m.

Windsor's product line up spans Asian, Mexican and Italian frozen appetisers and the company holds a leading share in the Asian segment, Ajinomoto said. Windsor brands include Tai Pei, Ling Ling, Jose Ole, Bernarido and Fred's.

In addition, Ajinomoto stressed Windsor benefits from a "broad distribution network" that reaches 80,000 stores. "By using Windsor's strong distribution network, Ajinomoto Co. plans to increase sales of Gyoza [potstickers], noodle and rice products, that are specialities to the company, in US retail channels and to strengthen its sales platform in foodservice channels," the company said.

Announcing the move, Ajinomoto said the acquisition will help it become the "clear number one" in frozen Asian and ethnic foods. Ajinomoto generates sales of around JPY13.5bn (US$130m) in the market.

By 2016 Ajinomoto plans to grow its frozen food interests into a JPY190bn business. The group plans to generate sales of JPY100bn in Japan and JPY90bn overseas.

The deal is expected to close in "early November". Ajinomoto said it would retain Windsor's management structure and added the impact on its earnings in fiscal 2014 would be "negligible".