"What we are targeting in healthcare and nutrition areas in the long term is quite large," Mitsui CEO Kenichi Hori said during an analyst call on Friday, adding that Mitsui will use IHH and other assets to achieve that aim.
Bloomberg reported on Thursday that Mitsui, which owns a 32.9% stake in IHH Healthcare worth around $12 billion, plans to take IHH private.
Hori did not refer to the Bloomberg report on Friday's analyst call, which media were permitted to listen to but not allowed to ask questions. A Mitsui spokesperson declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.
Mitsui, which has large exposures to commodities and energy and last week reported a 14 percent drop in net profit for the year through March, is expanding into healthcare as the world is gripped by the worst health crisis in a century.
The company has been approached by private equity on the potential share buyout of the Kuala Lumpur-traded company, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.
The discussions are preliminary and there is no certainty over whether any potential transaction will emerge, the report said, citing unidentified people with knowledge of the matter.
Mitsui shares were up about 1.2% compared with a wider market rise of 0.3%. IHH Healthcare shares were up around 0.7% after jumping nearly 8% on Thursday.
($1 = 4.1135 ringgit)
(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi, writing by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Jane Wardell; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)