Japan’s Gulf Food Fund buys UAE’s meat wholesaler company

TOKYO, June 4 — A Japanese private equity fund has acquired the United Arab Emirates-based Country Hill International (CHI), a leading meat importer and distributor, for an undisclosed amount.

The Gulf Japan Food Fund (GJFF), the Japanese fund that promotes Japanese agricultural exports, acquired the CHI, with an aim to boost the exports of halal wagyu beef to the Middle East market.

The CHI is a meat wholesaler company that specializes in importing meat products from New Zealand and Australia. It distributes them to high-end hotels, restaurants and major supermarket chains in the UAE.

The move comes as the high-priced Japanese delicacy, such as wagyu beef, has become increasingly popular in the oil-rich Middle Eastern monarchy.

Wagyu beef is famous for marbling of fat and the way it dissolves in the mouth. Many Muslims are averse to red meat with blood when cooked a little bit rare, and prefer Japanese wagyu because there is no blood when cooked, experts say.

The GJFF was set up in 2016 by Mizuho Bank Ltd., the Norinchukin Bank, the Cool Japan Fund and the Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds, with a total investment of 390 million dollars.

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