The New Zealand regulator today [Friday] struck another blow to the proposed takeover of New Zealand Dairy Foods by Australian dairy company National Foods (Natfoods).

New Zealand Commerce Competition chairman John Belgrave stopped the deal on fears that it would substantially impede competition in the yoghurt and dairy dessert sector.

Natfoods has been thwarted in several attempts to grow at home over the last year and a half, and had turned its attentions to neighbouring New Zealand in an attempt to gain scale. It has applied for regulatory clearance in case it decided to bid for New Zealand Dairy Foods. A 50.004% stake in the latter company is up for grabs following the ruling that newly created mega-dairy Fonterra must offload its stake to comply with new legislation.

Natfoods recently acquired specialty cheese and gourmet food group King Island Co Ltd for A$92m (US$48.35m).