ITOCHU Announces Entry into Dental Care Services Sector Through Capital Partnership with ZOO LABO

October 4, 2016

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masahiro Okafuji, President & CEO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it will enter the dental care services market by acquiring a 19.2% stake via private placement in the Dental Laboratory ZOO LABO (headquartered in Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture; Kazunori Okada, President; hereinafter “ZLB”).

Currently, there are approximately 69,000 dental clinics*1 , and the number is growing every year. However, an increasing staff turnover rate and a decrease in the number of young dental technicians means that the profession is aging, with staff aged on average 50 years and over accounting for approximately half. What is more, expanded insurance cover for digital dentistry manufacturing dental technical materials using CAD/CAM applications is contributing to rapidly changing market conditions in the dental industry.

ZLB, the latest company in which ITOCHU has invested, engaged in conventional dentistry services that mainly consisted of work performed manually by dental technicians, but was quick to move into digital dentistry and has now streamlined and computerized its work. In addition, since the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare is expanding insurance cover for digital dentistry, ZLB is aiming to develop innovative services by focusing on digital dentistry services. Further, ZLB is actively working to nurture young dental technicians, for example by proactively supporting them to participate in study meetings to improve their technique, and by establishing overseas training programs, creating workplaces that are able to provide numerous learning opportunities.

ITOCHU is proactively developing its business by positioning preventive medical care and the healthcare domain as high-priority areas. Through this latest capital and business tie-up, we will support the expansion of ZLB’s digital dentistry business. As well as promoting dental examinations by raising awareness of health and beauty in Japan, and responding to the needs of cosmetic dentistry not covered by health insurance, as well as developing new services utilizing IT for dentistry practitioners, we will use ITOCHU’s overseas network to promote overseas development in Southeast Asia. Further, we will harness our network of approximately 1,600 medical institutions through our tie-up with Wellness Communications Corporation, a Group company that develops health-related (Medical Checkup) business in Japan (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Yasuhide Matsuda, President & CEO; hereinafter “WCC”), and will aim to develop and deliver high value-added new services in the dentistry and oral health field for our industry and health insurance association clients.

ITOCHU will continue to play a leading role in expanding Japan’s health care service through capital and business tie-ups with companies that create advanced technologies in the preventive medical care and healthcare domain, as well as harnessing its global network to disseminate technologies and services originating in Japan to the rest of the world.

ZOO LABO Company Profile (as of September 1, 2016)

Company name ZOO LABO Co., Ltd
Representative Kazunori Okada
Address 1-27-2 Higashi-ikuta, Tama-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture
Main shareholder Kazunori Okada (100%)
Employees 70
Company website
Nature of business Creation of dental technical materials for dental treatment