November 6, 2019 / 8:49 AM / 11 days ago

Japan's Ajinomoto cuts outlook as African swine fever hits animal feed

TOKYO (Reuters) - Ajinomoto Co (2802.T), Japanese food and seasonings company, cut its full-year profit outlook as the outbreak of African swine fever hit its animal nutrition business, and warned that the impact could last another year.

The company said it now expects an operating profit of 88 billion yen ($807.4 million) for the full year through next March, down from a previous forecast of 97 billion yen. It booked a 15 billion yen impairment loss on the animal nutrition business for its fiscal second quarter through September.

The company’s main business comes from food, including its well-known monosodium glutamate seasoning. However, it has also used its expertise in amino acids to develop nutrition for farm animals.

“It could take around a year to emerge from this,” Chief Executive Takaaki Nishii told reporters, noting that the deadly animal virus had spread to Europe after the outbreak decimated herds in Asia.

Ajinomoto shares closed 5.65% lower at 1,961 yen after the results were announced.

The disease has been found in 50 countries, sending international pork prices rocketing and hitting animal feed markets such as corn and soybeans.

Reporting by Ritsuko Ando, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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