Vietnam’s leading dairy company Vinamilk will take a 19.3% stake in the New Zealand-based Miraka Limited, helping ease Vietnamese milk supply shortages, a spokesman told just-food.

Following approval from Vietnam’s ministry of planning and investment, the dairy producer chose a planned New Zealand dairy production plant for its first international investment.

According to Vinamilk spokesperson Truc Le Quang Thanh: “We decided to invest in Miraka because it is profitable. In addition, because of the shortage of milk from cows in Vietnam, we have to import milk powder for our production.”

Vinamilk will initially invest NZD121 million (US$88.2 million) in a new Miraka dairy processing plant, beginning operations from August 2011. The plant is expected to produce up to 32,000 tons of milk powder annually.

Vinamilk also hopes to expand in other countries. “Overseas investment is in Vinamilk’s plan which was approved in our annual general meeting 2010. We are still looking for other opportunities to expand our operations,” said Thanh.