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Mitsui & Co., Ltd. ("Mitsui", Head Office: Tokyo, President and CEO: Kenichi Hori), together with Air Water Inc., STI Food Holdings, Inc., Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd., Haseko Corporation, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited, and MUFG Bank, Ltd., have decided to subscribe to a third-party allocation of new shares by FRD Japan Co., Ltd. ("FRD", Head Office: Iwatsuki-ku, Saitama-shi, Saitama; Representatives: Yoichi Tsuji and Tetsuro Sogo). Of the ¥21 billion capital increase, Mitsui will subscribe to shares amounting to ¥7.85 billion and will hold a 50.4% stake (fully diluted) in FRD after the completion of the investment. In addition, FRD has signed loan agreements with several financial institutions through the frameworks available for Sustainable Blue Finance (i.e., financing of businesses that contribute to marine conservation and sustainable fisheries). The funds to be raised will be used for the construction of a commercial land-based rainbow trout aquaculture plant in Futtsu-shi, Chiba, with an annual production scale of 3,500 metric tons, for which the construction is scheduled to begin in July, as well as for working capital, research, development, and investment purposes (including expenditures for the pilot plant currently under operation and future large-scale plant development).
FRD farms and sells rainbow trout raised in its proprietary land-based Closed Recirculating Aquaculture System ("Closed-RAS"). FRD's strength comes from the combination of its (1) water treatment technology for achieving a high water circulation rate using bacteria without the need to draw natural seawater and (2) aquaculture operations backed by extensive operational experience of Closed-RAS. Making the most of this strength, it aims to facilitate development of the land-based aquaculture industry, which has thus far faced commercial feasibility issues. FRD aspires to develop series of large-scale plants, starting with this planned commercial plant, with a focus on Asia, including Japan.
Since Mitsui's initial equity participation in FRD in 2017, it has been supporting the company's research and development activities. The pilot plants (in Saitama-shi, Saitama and Kisarazu-shi, Chiba), which have been in operation since 2018, have farmed more than 20 generations of fish to date, demonstrating stable production of rainbow trout by maintaining an ideal water quality for fish growth. Based on this track record, FRD aims to construct a commercial-scale plant.
Against the backdrop of global population growth and rising living standards, the demand for marine products as a source of high-quality animal protein is increasing year by year, and thus the importance of aquaculture is growing. In Japan, due to the limited availability of suitable areas for marine aquaculture, there is the problem of limited supply of salmonoids, in particular, which is consumed on a scale of 300,000 metric tons per year in the country. Land-based aquaculture is attracting attention as an answer to solving these issues.
Mitsui, together with FRD, will work as the Mitsui & Co. group to develop a land-based aquaculture industry with the aim of creating a sustainable means of production for marine products so that everyone can enjoy fresh and affordable fish.
|Fish species to be produced||Rainbow Trout|
|Production volume||3,500 metric tons per year|
|Construction start date||July 2023 (planned) (development work to start)|
|Operation start date||2026 (planned)|
|Shipping start date||2027 (planned)|
|Official name||FRD Japan Co., Ltd.|
|Head Office Location||Iwatsuki, Saitama-shi, Saitama|
|Representative||Yoichi Tsuji and Tetsuro Sogo|
|Business Activities||Land-based closed recirculating aquaculture|
“Build brighter futures, everywhere” as our corporate mission, and to gain the trust and expectations of our stakeholders to realize a better tomorrow for earth and for people around the world, we have identified five material issues (“Materiality”) for Mitsui’s sustainable growth. We anticipate this particular project/ business to contribute especially to the realization of “Secure sustainable supply of essential products” and “Enhance quality of life” and “Create an eco-friendly society”
Secure sustainable supply of essential products
Enhance quality of life
Create an eco-friendly society
Develop talent leading to value creation
Build an organization with integrity