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February 8th, 2016
Transmar & ITOCHU Announce Formation of Global Cocoa Joint Venture

Morristown, New Jersey and Tokyo, Japan - Transmar Group ("Transmar"), a leading global provider of cocoa supply chain services and products based in Morristown, New Jersey, and ITOCHU Corporation ("ITOCHU"), one of Japan's largest global trading companies, headquartered in Tokyo, have agreed to form a joint venture dedicated to the sourcing, processing and distribution of cocoa beans and cocoa products. Under the agreement, ITOCHU will contribute cash into Transmar Group Ltd., a newly-formed United Kingdom limited company, which will hold the majority of Transmar's existing global cocoa operations. In exchange, ITOCHU will receive a minority stake slightly below 20% of the joint venture's equity. ITOCHU's investment, consisting of equity and debt capital, will be used to support Transmar's long-term, global growth initiatives.

Transmar CEO Peter G. Johnson will lead the joint venture and has stated that the new company will primarily include Transmar's wholly-owned operations in the United States, Europe and South America. "This transaction signals the beginning of a long term strategic partnership and a cooperative effort between Transmar and ITOCHU," said Johnson. "We expect that the combination of Transmar's cocoa sector expertise and ITOCHU's global reach, renowned presence across Asia and financial resources will create a leading global provider of cocoa supply chain solutions. With the addition of ITOCHU, Transmar Group Ltd. will become well positioned to serve customers across Asia, thereby expanding its reach to meet the needs of customers globally."

According to ITOCHU Corporation Executive Officer, Vice President of Food Company, Takeshi Takasugi, the newly formed joint venture is consistent with ITOCHU Food Company's current global growth initiative. "ITOCHU has an extensive history of working alongside commercial counterparties and then equity partners to capitalize on what it perceives to be valuable, under leveraged opportunities," Takasugi stated. "We are excited to be strategic partners with Transmar which will allow us to achieve mutual success consistent with our shared, long-term strategic vision."

In connection with the joint venture formation, ITOCHU will act as a distribution agent for Transmar Group Ltd. in select geographical areas, subject to existing agreements, in which Transmar does not have a direct physical presence.

The transaction is expected to close this month upon the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

About Transmar

Established in 1980, Transmar is a family-owned and operated vertically integrated supply chain manager providing value-added services/products to both upstream and downstream stakeholders. To meet industry requirements in food safety, quality, labor practices, and corporate responsibility, Transmar has created a global network consisting of the operations being contributed to Transmar Group Ltd., and joint ventures with third parties in Africa for sourcing and processing and in Europe for melting. Transmar provides services that span the complete cocoa supply chain from bean sourcing, logistics, processing and risk mitigation to semi-finished cocoa products to customers in the confectionery, dairy and bakery industries ranging from large multinationals to smaller specialty food companies.


With approximately 130 bases in 65 countries, ITOCHU is one of the leading sogo shosha, engaging in domestic trading, import/export and overseas trading of various products such as textile, machinery, metals, minerals, energy, chemicals, food, information and communications technology, realty, general products, insurance, logistics services, construction and finance, as well as business investment in Japan and overseas.