• Nna/kyodo

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Food product wholesaler and retailer Toho Co. has bought two Southeast Asian firms, one in Singapore and the other in Malaysia, to expand its business overseas in pursuit of medium- to long-term growth.

The Kobe-based company acquired Shimaya Trading Pte. in Singapore and Shimaya Trading Sdn Bhd in Malaysia, the company said. It did not disclose the transaction values.

On the back of the growing popularity of Japanese cuisine in Southeast Asia, the company, listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, has previously taken over two other Singapore firms — Marukawa Trading (S) Pte. in December 2015 and Tomo-Ya Japanese Food Trading Pte., according to Toho.

“The four Southeast Asian firms specialize in the wholesale business for restaurants, as we do in Japan,” a Toho official in charge of group strategy said, indicating that the company anticipates synergy effects from the subsidiaries. “They handle such products as seasonings, chilled and frozen meat, fish and vegetables, which largely overlap with those of us at home.”

The Japanese wholesaler has not disclosed the sum of any of the four buyout deals. The combined sales of the four Southeast Asian firms totaled roughly ¥2.4 billion, according to Toho’s data.

“We aim to expand our market share in Singapore first,” the official said, adding that the company will examine more potential merger and acquisition cases individually.

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