LA BROQUERIE, Manitoba – Itochu Corp. a Japanese trading firm, bought a 33.4 percent share of HyLife Group, a major Manitoba pork producer and packer.

Itochu said it paid about 5 billion yen for its stake in HyLife. The transaction is in line with Itochu's strategy of selling Canadian pork into Asian markets.

“This investment is concluded upon understanding that HyLife expansion strategy most prioritizes markets of Japan and Asia which Itochu SIS could mutually help,” Itochu said in a statement. “The sales of HyLife’s safe, secure pork will be increased with ITOCHU’s marketing network in the Asian market with a focus on China, where consumption continues to grow, as well as in the Japanese market.

“Moreover, in the Chinese market, ITOCHU will expand the business with Longda Foodstuff Group, a significant partner of ITOCHU, through technical exchanges in the field of pig production.”

HyLife currently produces more than 1.4 million pigs annually. The company also owns feed mills; transportation fleets; genetics laboratories; a construction company; a manure management company; a manufacturing and distribution center; and a pork processing plant.