Chinese dairy group Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group has acquired New Zealand peer Westland Cooperative Dairy Company after finally clearing all the regulatory hurdles.
The final details of the sale of New Zealand’s second-largest dairy cooperative were completed today (1 August) and the acquisition was announced to the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
No financial details were disclosed today but when the deal was first agreed back in March the two parties had agreed a price tag of NZD588m (then US$403.7m).
Shareholder farmers in the former co-op have now received a cash payment of NZD3.41 per share, a ten-year guaranteed competitive milk payout, plus guarantees that all milk would be collected.
Yili group CEO Jianqiu Zhang described the acquisition as a significant breakthrough in Yili’s global expansion.
Zhang said New Zealand’s strong dairying tradition, high-quality raw milk and well-regulated industry alongside Yili’s access to global resources and markets would strengthen the ties between Asia and the Oceania region.
“We intend to use our global assets of innovation, excellence and quality to create a Dairy Silk Road, linking our two regions on a trade journey that will benefit us all,” he said.
“In 2013, we made our first investment in New Zealand in the Oceania Dairy production facility where we have invested NZD660m. With Westland now among the Yili group of companies, Yili can provide the world with even more of the incredibly pure product loved and trusted by consumers around the globe.
“At Westland, we intend to build on the proud heritage of an innovative dairy that, like Yili, has recognised that unique, value-added products are critical to success in today’s export market. We will continue to stick to this principle of ‘Mutual Benefit and Win-win Co-operation’ with the incorporation of Westland to provide the world with more diversified and better-quality products.”
Zhang said Yili has committed to paying competitive ‘farm gate’ prices at Westland to ensure a continual supply.
“We are confident our investment here will bring new life to Westland and create better opportunities not only for our employees, the dairy farmers of New Zealand and the Westland community, but for the global dairy industry and New Zealand as well,” he said.
Yili lodged its bid for South Canterbury-based Westland in March through its wholly-owned subsidiary Hongkong Jingang Trade Holding Co.
In July it was green-lighted by New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office, which regulates foreign investment into the country after Westland’s shareholders had voted to accept the offer.
The final hurdle was ratification by the country’s High Court, which happened in mid-July.