Kunio Egashira, president of Tokyo-based seasoning manufacturer Ajinomoto, revealed yesterday [Wednesday] that the company plans to focus on fields with strong growth potential.

Egashira explained at a press conference that this means expanding its health food and nutritional supplement business through worldwide mergers and acquisitions over three years.

This medium-term plan, due to begin in April and work through until the end of March 2005, is designed to give Ajinomoto’s internal business departments more autonomy, which in turn should promote corporate governance. A performance-based wage system will be introduced and, at some point in the future, the company will mull establishing a holding firm to make its business management more efficient.

Furthermore, it is hoped that financial returns of the plan will be considerable. For the year ending in March 2005, Ajinomoto aims to deliver consolidated sales, up 20% year on year from its estimated 2004 sales, to ¥1.1 trillion (US$8.3bn). Net profit should meanwhile rise 50% to reach ¥45bn.

Ajinomoto has also confirmed that its production facilities for lysine, an amino acid used in cattle feed, will be expanded in the US, Italy and Thailand, with a view to boosting annual lysine production capacity by 100,000 tons to 300,000 tons by 2005.

The company already holds a 35% of the global market for feed-use lysine, but explained that its ¥5.4bn expansion plan is to meet growing demand in the US, Europe, Asia and Oceania.