Prepared Foods August 2, 2004 enewsletter

Food processing company Ajinomoto said it will invest $199 million over the next two years to build new plants in Brazil, and upgrade Chinese and U.S. factories to meet growing demand for amino acids.

Ajinomoto will step up production of amino acids for use in animal feed, pharmaceuticals and foods by investing a combined 21.6 billion yen ($195 million), the company said.

It plans to spend $86 million to construct a new feed-grade Lysine plant in São Paulo, Brazil, for completion in September 2006.

The firm will also increase the production capacity of its Chinese plant in Sichuan Province with an investment of $27 million by December 2005 to "meet rapidly growing demand for feed-use Lysine in China," it said.

It will spend another $23 million to upgrade its U.S. plant in Illinois to produce feed-use amino acids. Construction will be completed in February 2006.

For amino acids used in foods and pharmaceuticals, Ajinomoto will spend $63 million to build another plant in São Paulo. It said it plans to begin full-scale production in 2005.

"In addition to their conventional use as raw material for infusion and medical foods, pharmaceutical-use amino acids have found new applications," the company said in a statement.

"Over the past few years, there has been notable growth in demand of amino acids for applications in beverages and health food," it added.