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Australia Australia's Bega Cheese to buy Kirin's local dairy arm for $412 million

03:01  26 november  2020
03:01  26 november  2020 Source:   reuters.com

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Bega Cheese is a leading Australian dairy and food company producing cheese , infant formula, nutritional powders, Vegemite, peanut butter and salad dressings.

China Mengniu Dairy Co. has agreed to buy Kirin Holdings Co.’ s Australian beverage unit Lion Dairy & Drinks for about ¥45.6 billion, the China has been seeking to boost its local baby formula industry and restore confidence after the milk scandal in 2008 killed six children and poisoned 300,000 others.

(Reuters) - Australia's Bega Cheese Ltd said on Thursday it will buy the local dairy assets of Japanese drinks giant Kirin Holdings Co Ltd for A$560 million ($412 million) to drive consolidation in Australia's fragmented dairy industry.

Australia's top cheesemaker plans to raise A$401 million in equity to fund the purchase of Kirin's Lion Dairy & Drinks, the company said.

The sale brings to an end a two-year struggle by Kirin to offload Lion as part of a broader push to divest underperforming overseas assets and move into health and cosmetics.

Kirin was forced to scrap an initial plan in August to sell the assets to China Mengniu Dairy Co Ltd for A$600 million, following changes to Australia's foreign investment laws and fraying relations between Beijing and Canberra.

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Australia ' s Bega Cheese Ltd said on Wednesday it has agreed to buy a dairy processing facility at Koroit in Victoria state from Saputo Inc' s local At the time, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said the Murray Goulburn deal may leave some Victorian farmers little choice

Bega Cheese expands its dairy footprint in western Victoria by acquiring Saputo' s Koroit processing facility in western Victoria for 0 million . Bega Cheese executive chairman Barry Irvin said the company hoped to increase production at the plant over the coming years.

Lion has about 6% of the fragmented Australian dairy market, according to industry researcher IBISWorld, and would support Bega Cheese's plans of turning into a local food giant.

"The acquisition delivers important industry consolidation," Bega Cheese's Chairman Barry Irvin said in a statement.

Stripping away separation costs, Bega Cheese says the net deal value for brands including Farmers Union yoghurt, Berri juice and Zooper Dooper ice blocks, is A$534 million.

Kirin and Lion, in separate releases, confirmed the sale, adding that it was unconditional and expected to complete in early 2021.

($1 = 1.3580 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Reese and Lincoln Feast)

Dairy giant warns of price rise in no-deal Brexit .
The dairy farmers' co-operative, which owns Cravdendale and Lurpak, imports about 15% of its products. Its UK boss told the BBC that if the UK could not strike a free trade deal with the EU, tariffs could add as much as 30% to their prices.A government spokesperson said it was working closely with the food industry.After the Brexit transition period expires at the end of December, dairy goods are amongst those which could face the highest increase in such taxes.In theory, that could add about 40p to the price of a pack of imported butter or mozzarella, if passed on to consumers in full.

usr: 3
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