Ajinomoto is a 112-year-old Japanese food manufacturer known for its MSG seasonings and has become an amazing beneficiary of the turmoil caused by the pandemic.
Although its spices and sauces have been struggling due to the blockade’s damage to the restaurant industry, the company’s unexpected sideline as a supplier of high-tech films to the computer chip industry has been booming-helping Ajinomoto last quarter report A record operating profit.
Ajinomoto demonstrated the ability of Japanese companies to reshape, just as Fujifilm transformed from a photographic film manufacturer to a pharmaceutical giant, and Olympus transformed from a troubled camera manufacturer to a leading endoscope manufacturer Same.
But analysts now want to know how far and fast Ajinomoto can go on the foundations of the food industry.
“ABF exists in most desktops and laptops that people use,” Shigeo Nakamura, the company’s head of chemical products, told Nikkei Asia, referring to the Ajinomoto thickened film.
ABF is a thin composite material used to connect the processor to a base layer called the substrate, forming part of the chip package, connecting the chip to the motherboard and protecting it from damage.
The ABF is laminated to the substrate and then plated with copper so that the circuit can be manufactured. These substrates are widely used in high-performance computing chips in satellites, 5G base stations, and autonomous vehicles.
As the coronavirus has released a huge demand for upgrading information technology infrastructure and has triggered a global chip shortage, Ajinomoto’s sales may be higher if its customers can scale up more quickly to meet demand.
The stock market returned Ajinomoto with the highest share price in five years, and business units including electronics and medical accounted for 23% of the company’s overall operating profit for the year ending March 2021.
“Every company needs to review its business portfolio on a regular basis,” said Makoto Morita, an equity analyst at Daiwa Securities. “This is especially true for Japanese food manufacturers, who are facing the problem of a declining population in their domestic market.”
Morita hopes that Ajinomoto will be more active in restructuring its investment portfolio. He said that global food manufacturers such as Nestlé, Danone and Unilever have made more acquisitions and divestitures than their Japanese counterparts. “Ajinomoto can do more.”