AUBURN — Sauce-maker World Harbor’s new owners have big plans for the brand and its Auburn plant.

“We really do take the long-term view,” said Mark Majewski, chief financial officer and senior vice president of Mizkan Americas Inc. “Our goal is to operate the Auburn plant ideally at two shifts, night and day, full time. We’re not quite ready for that yet, but that is the goal.”

Japan-based Mizkan International announced that its U.S.-based
subsidiary, Mizkan Americas Ltd., had taken over Auburn sauce-maker
World Harbors, purchasing the brand and its properties from parent
Angostura International Ltd. Mizkan also purchased the distribution
rights to Angostura Bitters.

“We want to be in the condiment and sauce business,” Majewski said. “This is our opening move, so to speak.”

World Harbors is based out of Auburn’s Kittyhawk
Industrial Park. The company began making sauces in 1990 in Winthrop and was
later purchased by Angostura International Ltd., makers of aromatic
bitters for alcoholic beverages. The company relocated to Auburn in
2001 and expanded in 2007— a $3 million, 21,500-square-foot
expansion.

“In our mind, we think we now have the best quality brand on the market
and a wonderful facility with great workers,” Majewski said. “It’s a
great work force and a physical plant that has plenty of available
capacity. So now, the onus is on us to see how we can fill that
capacity up.”

World Harbors employs about 40 people at the Auburn plant and has about $8 million in annual sales.

Majewski said Mizkan learned in November that World Harbors’ parent company was selling the Auburn plant.

“So this deal came together quickly, in two months, but it was really in process for much, much longer,” Majewski said. Mizkan has been eyeing the brand as far back as 2002.

“A lot of companies would not be able to turn a deal around like that in such a short amount of time, but we did it,” he said.  “A company like World Harbors does not become available every day.”

The Mizkan Group, based in Handa City, Japan, is a privately
owned international food manufacturer, specializing in liquid
condiments — vinegars, mustards, cooking wines, wine
reductions, sushi seasoning, jellies, salad dressings and Asian sauces.

The U.S. subsidiary, Mizkan Americas, is based in Mount Prospect,
Ill., and makes condiments and food ingredients in 13 manufacturing
plants. The company markets its goods under the Holland House, Imperial
Brands Inc., Nakano, Four Monks, Barengo and Mitsukan brands.

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