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Nippon Ham positioning for regional Muslim markets

Yoshihide Hata, right, vice president of Nippon Ham, signed a joint venture with Lay Hong Chairman Yap Hong Chai, left, in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday that opens the door to Muslim markets in Southeast Asia.

KUALA LUMPUR -- NH Foods, Japan's largest food producer by sales, sealed a deal on Wednesday designed to expand its footprint in Southeast Asia's Muslim markets.

     Also known as Nippon Ham, the company has taken 51% of a joint venture with food producer Lay Hong, which controls half of Malaysia's premium egg market.

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