Nippon acquires majority stake in U.S. pasta producer

by Emily Wilson
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JAPAN'S OLDEST industrial flour miller, Nippon Flour Mills Co., Tokyo, has acquired a 70% stake in Pasta Montana, L.L.C. of the United States for about U.S.$5 million, the company announced recently.

Nippon said the investment was an attempt to strengthen its pasta business in the United States and in Japan. "We would like to make the most of the pasta-making know-how of Pasta Montana," said Kenji Takahashi of Nippon.

Pasta Montana, Great Falls, Montana, U.S., said Nippon was already one of its largest export customers. Jim Petras, Pasta Montana vice chairman, said, "What Nippon brings to the table is the financial stability, world-renowned reputation and management expertise. We think this fits in with Pasta Montana's strengths and capabilities. It further bolsters our existing strategy to be a premier pasta supplier to the western and northwestern markets as well as to selected Asian export markets."

No immediate plans have been announced regarding any changes to Pasta Montana operating management, but Nippon said it will send technical staff to Great Falls to "explore additional potential synergies, the possibility of new capital investment and a more detailed review of Pasta Montana operations."