According to The Australian, Japanese trading giant Mitsui says recent trade deals with Korea, Japan and China mean it will look to enter the Australian beef industry and increase its interest in grains, as it continues to shift its local growth priority away from resources.
Mitsui Australia chairman Yasushi Takahashi said the Japanese company, which has big investments in Queensland coking coal and West Australian iron ore and LNG, would focus on agricultural growth.
“The growth of Asia’s middle class is driving strong demand for Australia’s agricultural commodities, and we expect further growth on the back of recently concluded Economic Partnership Agreements and free trade agreements with Korea, Japan and China,” Mr Takahashi said in the company’s Australian accounts.
“We will stay committed to growing our grains accumulation business, while actively seeking new opportunities in beef exports.”
The Mitsui interest in beef comes as the $300 million Kidman & Co pastoral empire, the world’s eighth biggest landholder, is up for sale. It is understood Mitsui is not one of the interested parties, which have been whittled down to a shortlist of six to 12 potential local and international buyers.
Mitsui would not comment on the type of beef assets it was looking for.
Australia is Mitsui’s biggest investment destination, with the company having spent $14 billion here in the past 10 years, mainly on resources.
The company’s accounts showed an 11 per cent fall in pre-tax profit to $256.8m for the year ended March 31. Net profit was $259m and revenue fell from $647.1m to $549.2m as iron ore and coal prices slipped.
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