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JGC to Enter Agribusiness

Tokyo, Mar 13, 2012 (JCN) - Through a private placement, JGC Corp. has invested 100 million yen to acquire an 18% stake in Granpa Co. Ltd, a company specializing in the development and marketing of air-dome type greenhouses for indoor cultivation of fresh vegetables. This investment marks JGC's first foray into the agribusiness.

Granpa is currently developing and marketing "air-dome greenhouses" as a kind of plant factory, as well as selling produce cultivated in conventional glass greenhouses and air-dome greenhouses in Fujisawa and Hadano, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. The air-dome greenhouses include a unique sliding and rotation technology for automatic optimization of plant spacing, giving air-dome greenhouses an output of more than twice as much produce per square meter as that of conventional glass greenhouses. In addition, the plant factory cultivation allows for a drastic reduction in the use of pesticides and fertilizers compared with conventional outdoor agriculture, providing consumers with a high level of assured food safety and fresh produce that can be eaten as is without having to be washed first.

In line with JGC's new medium-term management plan, the company set forth the goal of expanding enterprise investment through participation in investment projects in sectors such as infrastructure for water and power generation, resource development, renewable energy, the environment, and agriculture. This project marks one more step toward reaching that goal.

With this investment, JGC aims to help Granpa further improve its air-dome technology to popularize industrialized agriculture, as well as contribute to the restoration of agriculture in disaster-hit areas of the Tohoku region. In the future, JGC hopes to move into the international market by creating package agricultural technology that can be applied in arid regions such as the Middle East and Africa, cold regions such as Russia, and countries like China, where rapid urban development necessitates ever-stricter standards for food safety.

By Saroj Shrestha Staff Writer

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