Australian dairy group Lion Pty Ltd has changed distributor in Hong Kong, signing local food and drink Vitasoy International Holdings to handle brands including Yoplait and Pura milk.

The previous distributor for Lion’s brands in Hong Kong was Nowaday. A spokesperson for Lion said the company, owned by Japan’s Kirin Holdings, said it had been “working on securing this new agreement with VIHL for more than 12 months”.

News of the deal comes two months after a batch of Lion’s Pura milk on sale in Hong Kong was recalled after it contained bacteria above legal limits.

The spokesperson added: “Vitasoy has a significant presence in Hong Kong, which will enhance our distribution and provide growth opportunities for both parties. While our export business is currently small, this provides an exciting opportunity for Lion to start building its presence in a high-growth market.”
The deal also covers South Cape cheese and Farmers Union iced coffee, Lion said.
The two companies already work together in Lion’s home market of Australia, where they have a joint venture that takes in a plant in Wodonga in the state of Victoria. Lion also distributes Vitasoy’s range of products.
In the last 12 months, the venture has been extended to take in New Zealand, Vitasoy said when it announced its annual results last week. Vitasoy booked a 8% increase in net profit to HK$303m (US$49.4m). Sales were up 9% at HK$4.05bn.