President of BioKyowa's parent company visits Cape

Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Dr. Yuzuru Matsuda, the new president of BioKyowa's parent company in Japan, traveled from Tokyo to meet with Cape Girar-deau business leaders Tuesday, promising to strengthen the company and maintain a solid relationship with the community.

"Visiting Cape Girardeau has been on my priority list," said Matsuda, who took over as president of the Kyowa Hakko Group in June. "We established one of our major production facilities here 21 years ago and it's appropriate that I am here."

Kyowa Hakko is the parent company of the Cape Girardeau BioKyowa plant, which employs 161 people in its production of animal feed supplements. Kyowa Hakko is an industry leading global supplier to the food, pharmaceutical and chemical industries, with net sales of $3.3 billion.

The company, established in 1949, is headquartered in Tokyo.

Matsuda, who goes by the name Joe while in this country, told the business leaders that his aspirations as president are to create new and effective scenarios for growth. He said that the company's four in-house divisions made a profit in the last fiscal year.

The company was the first major Japanese manufacturer to locate in Missouri. BioKyowa opened its swine and poultry supplement plant here in 1982 in a $25 million facility with 60 workers.

John Mehner, Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, said the visit shows how important BioKyowa is to its parent company.

"This is a major international company," Mehner said. "It shows we're important enough as a community for the president to come to Cape Girardeau and meet with us."

Mehner said he was especially pleased that BioKyowa reported it has 161 employees, just a little more than two years after having to lay off 45 because of a poor Asian economy.

"They've shown they're getting over the hump and getting back into profitability," Mehner said. "They were at about 190 employees at their peak and they're still at 160. They've maintained a very good employment base. At this point, they've weathered the storm."

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