A deal by China-based dairy firm Yili for New Zealand’s second-largest dairy cooperative Westland Milk Products is on the verge of completion after approval by regulators.

Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group (Yili) lodged a bid for Westland in March through its wholly-owned subsidiary Hongkong Jingang Trade Holding Co. Shareholders voted to accept the offer earlier this month, and now, New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office, which regulates foreign investment into the country, has also given the green light to the deal.

The final hurdle rests in the hand of the High Court, which will convene on 18 July to consider the outcome.

Back in March, the two parties had agreed a price tag of NZD588m (then US$403.7m) for the South Canterbury-based business. In a statement today (16 July), Yili said if the transaction is approved Westland’s farmer shareholders will receive an immediate cash payment of NZD3.41 per share, as well as a ten-year “guaranteed competitive milk payout”.

Jianqiu Zhang, the chief executive of Yili group, one of China’s largest dairy companies conducting business in New Zealand since 2013, said: “Our goal is to become the most-trusted health-food provider in the world. We are very hopeful that our offer will be accepted by the High Court so that we can work towards creating a strong and secure future for one of New Zealand’s most-trusted brands.”

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