Kaneka takes stake in AB-Biotics, aims for major boost in probiotic sales by 2022


14 May 2018 --- Japanese specialty chemical company Kaneka Corporation has acquired 34.8 percent of Spanish owned AB-Biotics (ABB) who focus on the research, development and distribution of lactic acid bacteria products. The agreement also grants Kaneka the exclusive rights for production and sales of ABB’s products in the US, Canada and Japan. The company hopes to accomplish 10 billion yen (US$91 million) in sales by 2022, by developing and launching differentiated new probiotic products in the fast-growing market.

ABB’s strong R&D capability has more than 550 original probiotic strains extracted from human origin samples. They sell a wide range of clinically documented probiotics products to health food and pharmaceutical companies worldwide. These seek to improve intestinal environment and have effects on decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, periodontal diseases and infectious diseases. NutritionInsight has previously reported on ABB's links with Frutarom and DuPont, for example.

The market size of health food using lactic acid bacteria has exceeded US$2 billion in North America. In Japan, a lot of new products such as yogurt, drinks and dietary supplements containing lactic acid bacteria have been launched in the market, with the expectation of higher demand than ever.

Kaneka has been expanding its functional food business globally such as the regenerative co-enzyme Q10 (Kaneka QH TM), polyphenol derived from licorice (Kaneka Gravonoid TM) and plant-derived lactic acid bacillus, fully supported by the evidence data regarding its safety and beneficial effects for health.

Kaneka's entry into dairy 
Kaneka has also started a dairy products business, with products such as milk, butter and yogurt in Japan. In January 2018 a partnership with Pur Natur Invest BVBA, to develop and manufacture dairy products, was announced.

Click to Enlarge
Kaneka's dairy product on the Japanese
market: Milk for bread.

Pur Natur has eight group companies and is developing organic milk products to European countries. Their dairy products such as flavorful milk, butter, yogurt, fresh cheese and other processing techniques are valued on the market.

Kaneka assert that domestic farming is facing tough times in Jpana, largely due to a lack of successors and labor shortages. Therefore, they say they are looking to boost domestic production by increasing of dairy-farming productivity, improving the dairy-farming working environment, and supporting environmentally friendly dairy-farming management.

Moreover, they will utilize the experience of Pur Natur to aid the development of domestic organic dairy farming.

NutritionInsight has reached out to both Kaneka and ABB for further comments on the acquisition.

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