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Itochu Expands Into Lloyd’s of London Insurance in U.K. Alliance

Itochu Corp., which seeks to become the most profitable Japanese trading house outside of mineral resources, said it formed an alliance with Antares Managing Agency Ltd. of the U.K. to expand in the insurance industry.

The alliance with London-based Antares will allow Itochu to be Japan’s first non-financial company to underwrite risk in Lloyd’s of London, the world’s largest insurance market, the Tokyo-based company said today in a statement. Itochu will offer reinsurance services, the company said.

“Through the alliance with Antares, Itochu will acquire insurance underwriting techniques as well as know-how and expertise in sales, facilitating the full launch and expansion of its insurance underwriting business,” Itochu said.

Itochu Chief Executive Officer Masahiro Okafuji vowed last year to make the trading house’s profit less dependent on sales of iron ore, coal and energy as China’s industrial growth eases. Itochu, which in September agreed to buy Dole Food Co.’s packaged food and Asian fresh produce units for $1.69 billion, earned 35 percent of its profit from metal and energy sales in the quarter ending Sept. 30.

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