Media September 2012

News in Brief

Scots Report Sausage Sales Rise

Sausage skin-maker Devro has seen a 6% rise in profits due to a high demand in Japan, Glasgow Wired reported on 31 July.

The Scottish firm recorded sales grossing £20mn during the first half of the current fiscal year, with revenues up more than 7% to £115mn.

The Moodiesburn-based group is expecting growth to continue, helped along by demand for its premium Select range.

Shionogi Opens Office in London

A Japanese pharmaceutical firm has opened its European headquarters in London, the Financial Times reported on 15 August.

The UK’s strict drug safety and pricing standards were a decisive factor in the Shionogi & Co., Ltd. decision to locate an operations centre in the UK capital. Also attractive was the UK’s traditional strength in medical research. The firm sees this as groundwork for further expansion abroad.

The Shionogi Limited office, that will initially only employ 15 staff, is seen as a symbolic victory for the UK, given the Europe-wide push to stimulate inward investment and employment by courting pharmaceutical makers with offers of tax breaks and other incentives.

App Maker Invests in Tech City Studio

One of Japan’s richest businessmen has opened a video games studio in London to help boost the UK technology start-up scene, the BBC reported on 2 August.

Head of Japanese Smartphone application maker, Gree International Inc, has opened a new studio in east London’s centre for technology and media firms. The Tokyo-based firm will develop titles for its social gaming platform at the site commonly known as “Tech City”.

Wales to Get R&D Centre

Panasonic will construct a new fuel cell product research and development facility at its Cardiff plant, according to a 6 August Wales Online report.

The Japanese firm’s £2mn centre is due to open this month and will develop and adapt fuel cell products for the UK and European markets, in order to provide the average home with a reduced carbon footprint.

This investment, which will add considerable value to Panasonic’s operations in Wales, is being backed with £450,000 in funding from the Welsh Government.

Nuclear Power Talks to be Held

The Japanese and UK governments are to hold their first bilateral meeting to exchange opinions on nuclear power, The Denki Shimbun reported on 10 August.

The decommissioning of Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc.’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station will be discussed at the October event, to be held in Tokyo.

Permira Buys Sushi Firm

A UK private equity firm has bought Japan’s largest sushi chain, The Independent reported on 25 August.

Permira, owner of frozen food brand Birdseye, bought Akindo Sushiro from Japanese buyout outfit Unison Capital for £630mn.

The UK’s second-biggest buyout deal this year could cause barriers to collapse, thereby enabling UK financiers to conquer lucrative Asian markets.

Footballer Joins Wigan

Japan international player Ryo Miyaichi has joined Wigan football team on a season-long loan, The Independent reported on 13 August.

The 19-year-old winger has previously played for both Bolton and Arsenal.

Experts Push Rice Wine in Europe

An organisation of London-based sake experts is trying to promote rice wine worldwide and reverse declining sales in Japan, The Japan Times reported on 29 August.

The Sake Sommelier Association (SSA) hopes that, by informing alcohol industry professionals worldwide about the beverage, they can encourage more establishments to stock it.

The European market for sake is growing, parallel with the expanding popularity of Japanese food. The higher alcohol content of rice wine, compared with that of other alcoholic beverages, is said to boost the flavour of food, including Japanese dishes.

In Japan, the older Japanese generally drink sake, while the younger ones tend to favour wine and beer. European sake lovers want to try to reverse the falling sales of sake and the closures of its breweries. They hope endorsements from a select group of wine experts in London may help boost sales of the product in Japan.