TOKYO (AFP) – Japan’s Nissin Foods, the inventor of instant noodles, said it would spend nearly 300 million dollars on entering Russia, where it eyes a growing market for its fast food meals.
Nissin Foods Holdings Co., known for its flagship Cup Noodle products, said it planned to buy around a one-third stake in Russia’s LLC Mareven Food Central, which controls 41 percent of Russia’s instant noodle market.
As a first step, the Japanese instant noodle giant will invest 9.3 billion yen in January to buy a 14.99 percent stake in Angleside Ltd., the parent company of Russia’s biggest instant noodle maker, Nissin said in a statement.
Nissin will then raise its stake to 33.5 percent by September 2010 with its total investment estimated at 26.8 billion yen (296 million dollars), it said.
With the capital tie-up, Nissin plans to fully launch its business in Russia while providing Mareven its technology for developing and producing instant noodles, it said.
“We are also considering marketing our own brands in Russia in the future through the tie-up,” a company spokesman said.
Russians buy two billion packets of instant noodles a year, making it the world’s ninth-largest consumer, according to Nissin. Mareven forecasts a net profit this year of 2.1 billion yen on sales of 31 billion yen.
Nissin, based in the western city of Osaka, created instant ramen noodles shortly after World War II, targeting busy people on the go as Japan built itself up from ruins into the world’s second largest economy.
Nissin and its rivals have since become a multi-billion-dollar global industry.
But Japanese food companies have increasingly branched out overseas, anticipating a slump in demand at home as the population ages.