Chinese companies Inner Mongolia Fuyang Farming and China Resources have been linked with making bids for Australian dairy co-operative Murray Goulburn.

Bids are due in by 15 September and a number of suitors have already emerged including New Zealand dairy and infant formula business A2 Milk and now, according to The Australian newspaper, the Chinese duo are ready to show their hand.

China Resources already owns a stake of around 6% in Murray Goulburn, which may give it leverage when making a bid.

Fuyang Farming, meanwhile, is a 79% shareholder in Australia’s Burra Foods after a deal struck in May last year.

Speculation has been rife about Murray Goulburn’s future ownership ever since the under pressure cooperative launched a “comprehensive” review of its business back in June.

It is understood to have engaged adviser Deutsche Bank to speak to prospective suitors on its behalf.

Aside from A2 Milk, other possible acquirers of all or part of Murray Goulburn include Australia’s Goodman Fielder and Bega Cheese and Italy’s Parmalat.

Murray Goulburn recently sold off its Kiewa Country milk brand to Kyvalley Dairy Group.