VIETNAM: Vinamilk eyes two-way flow from US investment
Vinamilk has built a "mega factory" in Vietnam's Binh Duong Province to meet local demand and target international sales
Vinamilk wants to use its investment in California's Driftwood Dairy to bring American products back to Vietnam and to sell its own products in the US, the company has told just-food.
Late last year, Vinamilk, Vietnam's largest dairy processor, finalised a move to buy 70% in Driftwood.
The acquisition is among a series of international investments as the company looks to take its turnover from last year's US$1.5bn to $3bn by 2017. In recent months, Vinamilk has set up a venture in Cambodia and outlined plans for an office in Poland.
Speaking to just-food in Vietnam on Friday (9 May), Nguyen Quoc Khánh, Vinamilk's executive director for R&D and production, highlighted two reasons for the company's investment in Driftwood.
"We want to expand our business in America. We already export our products to America. We want to present our product to America and we want to bring American products to Vietnam," Khánh said in an interview at Vinamilk's plant in Binh Duong Province in Vietnam. "It's a good opportunity for us. Driftwood is a company established in 1920. They have raw materials, distribution channels, things like that."
Vinamilk has exported to the US before, shipping a small order of condensed milk across the Pacific. However, through its investment in Driftwood and with its ambitions to rapidly grow its business, the company is looking again at the US.
Since the start of the year, Vinamilk has contacted potential US customers with proposals to export "healthy drink products", a spokesperson confirmed, but no deals have been finalised.
The majority of products Vinamilk sells in its domestic market are manufactured locally. An exception is its liquid milk brand Twin Cows, developed through the company's investment in New Zealand dairy firm Miraka and which it sells as a premium to its other lines.
Vinamilk would look to bring US-made lines into its domestic market should local consumers indicate they would buy the products.
The company, which dominates Vietnam's fledgling but growing dairy market, says it would become one of the world's top 50 dairy companies should it hit its target of $3bn in sales by 2017.
Keep an eye out for further coverage of just-food's trip to Vietnam, including an in-depth interview with Vinamilk's Khánh. Our next management briefing, meanwhile, will take a deeper and broader look at the Vietnam FMCG market.
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