Carlyle buys Japanese contract manufacturer Sunsho

Carlyle Group, the private equity investors that sold off Japanese capsule maker Qualicaps to Mitsubishi, has picked up a new contract manufacturer, also based in Japan and one that also manufacturers capsules.

The Washington, DC-based Carlyle has bought Shizuoka-based Sunsho Pharmaceutical, a contract manufacturer it says specializes in pharmaceuticals and health and nutrition (H&N) products. Terms of the deal, which is slated to be completed in August, were not disclosed. When the deal is completed, CEO Takashi Kondo, who founded the company in 1993, will retire and Kazuhiro Shijo, currently president, will continue to oversee management.

A Sunsho Pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Shizuoka, Japan--Courtesy of Sunsho

According to Carlyle, Sunsho has 5 manufacturing plants in the Shizuoka prefecture that do contract manufacturing and packaging of soft capsules, seamless capsules and other dosage forms for H&N and pharmaceuticals. It said it is among the largest players in Japan in the H&N field. Kondo said that with Carlyle's backing the company would be able to expand, including adding to it manufacturing capacity, for both domestic and international production.

Contract pharma manufacturing is an area that Carlyle has experience in. It bought Qualicaps, formerly known as Shionogi Qualicaps, from Shionogi & Co. in October 2005 and built it into what it claimed was the largest pharma capsule makers in Japan and the second largest in the world. It sold that business to Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings in Dec. 2012 for a reported ¥55.8 billion, or about $650 million. Last year, Qualicaps said it would invest $26 million to boost production at its plant in Whitsett, NC, with plans to add 123 workers over three years to the 500 already employed at the plant.

- here's the announcement