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Mitsui buys 50 pct stake in non-GMO U.S. grain, soybean handler

Oct 20, 2015 at 11:16 AM CST
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(Corrects to remove reference to GMO corn in 7th paragraph.)

Oct 19 (Reuters) - Mitsui & Co (USA) Inc, the U.S. arm of Japanese commodities trader Mitsui & Co Ltd, bought a 50 percent stake in Bluegrass Farms of Ohio Inc, a grain handler and breeder of non-genetically modified soybeans, the companies said on Monday.

The deal, which closed on Friday, is valued at about $15 million including debt, said Bluegrass owner and Chief Executive David Martin.

The companies are aiming to capitalize on growing global demand for food made from non-GMO grains, including products like tofu and baby food.

Mitsui currently handles about 40 percent of products shipped from Bluegrass.

"We're going to grow this business. We've been in alignment for 10 years and now we're taking it to the next step. We're going to do additional Asian business and U.S. domestic business," Martin said. He declined to provide further details.

Bluegrass Farms relies on contract growers to produce soybeans from seed varieties it has developed.