Chinese conglomerate CITIC Group has announced plans to buy local infant formula and dairy business Hunan Ava Holdings for around CNY570m (US$81.6m).

The acquisition is part of AVA’s asset restructuring plan to focus on real estate development while divesting its non-core businesses.

Infant formula, which represents the majority of AVA’s dairy business, is growing at a rate of 20% per year in China, according to industry experts.

The main growth drivers for the industry are rising disposable incomes, as well as shifting demographic patterns in favour of increased numbers of working mothers.

AVA’s most popular brand Nanshan is among the top ten infant formula brands in China.