Parmalat has snapped up a clutch of fresh milk assets in Australia up for grabs after owner National Foods bought Dairy Farmers last year.

The Italian dairy group said today (20 May) that it had agreed to buy the business for A$70m (US$54.1m).

Parmalat will take on the Lidcombe and Clarence Gardens manufacturing facilities, as well as brand licences and distribution networks in New South Wales, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.

The production operations generated combined revenue of A$200m in the year to the end of June 2008, Parmalat said.

Parmalat had been in the race to buy Dairy Farmers, which went to National Foods in a A$910m deal. After Parmalat’s failed attempt to buy Dairy Farmers, there had been speculation that it would look to quit the Australian market.

The group saw first-quarter earnings from its Australian business jump from EUR1.9m (US$2.6m) to EUR6.8m in the first three months of this year thanks to falling raw milk costs.

Revenues, however, fell from EUR107.5m to EUR93.1m due to the strength of the euro against the Australian dollar.