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Sun exits final Japan investment with $78m sale

The turnaround specialist has sold its last Japanese portfolio company, dessert maker Tamari, which will again serve as a maiden deal for a private equity firm.

Sun Capital Partners has exited Tarami, its first ever Japanese investment and last remaining portfolio company in the country. The returns generated from the investment were not disclosed.

Sun shuttered its Tokyo office in February, having decided to move away from platform opportunities in Asia. As a result, eight Tokyo-based investment professionals were retrenched.

Tarami: Switching sponsors

The Florida-based firm sold its 100 percent stake in the gelatine dessert maker to Tokyo-based MUL Principle Investments, for between JPY7 billion ($78 million; €53 million) and JPY8 billion, according to an industry source. Sun had acquired the company for an undisclosed sum in an auction in July 2007, 10 months after it opened its Tokyo office.

Tarami is the maiden investment for MUL, which is the private equity arm of Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance that was set up this March. 

Tarami’s products include “Fruit Jelly” gelatine cups sold in stores under its own labels such as Kudamonoyasan and Dossari, as well as via private brands such as Dole. The company booked revenues of JPY10.1 billion for the fiscal year ended this March. Founded in 1971, Tarami is headquartered in Nagasaki.

Presently, MUL raises capital from Mitsubishi UFJ on a deal-by-deal basis, with Mitsubishi UFJ investing between JPY3 billion and JPY5 billion per deal. The firm aims to invest approximately JPY10 billion in two to three deals each year. It may consider raising capital from third party investors in the future, according to an MUL spokesman added. MUL primarily makes growth investments in mid-sized companies across all sectors in Japan.