Friday, July 8, 2016

Brunei - Mitsubishi opens anti-aging compound plant in Brunei

TOKYO -- Japanese trader Mitsubishi Corp. has begun full production of an antioxidant food additive in Brunei.

The product, a compound called astaxanthin, has the antioxidant effect of being a check on deterioration, and demand for it is expected to grow across Asia for use in health foods and cosmetics. Mitsubishi plans to sell the additive to companies looking to tap into increasingly health- and beauty-conscious consumers across Southeast Asia.

Mitsubishi spent over a billion yen, or roughly $10 million, to build a plant that produces astaxanthin powder in Brunei. The powder is then shipped to Japan, where one of the company's affiliate plants turns it into a liquid and supplies the product to food and cosmetics companies.

The company plans to expand its Brunei production facility within five years so that the entire process can be completed within the country. It also plans to increase the number of workers at the plant from 20 initially to 30-40.

Mitsubishi also views the plant as a job creator in Brunei and a way to maintain a good relationship with the local government.

Mitsubishi has been producing liquefied natural gas in Brunei since the 1970s. In 2013, the company cut a deal with Brunei's government to continue LNG production over the next 10 years. As energy demand rises in emerging countries like China, it is important to strengthen ties with the local government in order to continue resource development, the company said. In the past, Mitsubishi has engaged in running a ranch, farming and fish farming in the country.

Astaxanthin is a pigment that makes crustaceans such as prawns and crabs red. It is used in cosmetics and other products by Japan's Fujifilm.

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