Is China buying the Australian Milk Industry?.
The Chinese Mengniu Dairy Company has agreed a deal to buy Lion’s dairy and drinks business for $600 million.
Brands in the sale include: Dairy Farmers, Pura, Dare, Farmers Union, Big M, Vitasoy, Yoplait yoghurt and Daily Juice.
The business currently employs around 2,300 people in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and China.
Lion Dairy and Drinks is supplied with dairy and fruit products from about 280 Australian dairy farmers and about 85 Australian fruit growers.
The acquisition is subject to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Foreign Investment Review Board approvals, which is expected to be given in the first half of 2020.
History of Lion’s Dairy and Drinks.
National Foods, now known as Lion’s Dairy and Drinks, has had Australian ownership, followed by Philippine then Japanese owners.
This latest change takes it to Chinese owners.
1991 National Foods was created.
National Foods, was created by the Adelaide Steamship Company by amalgamating several dairy and food-related businesses with brand names and histories dating back to the 19th century. The majority of its initial earnings came from the Allowrie family of brands which, as well as Allowrie butter, included Bodalla, Farmers Union, Peters Farm, Fruche, Tasmaid, Golden North and Pura. The new entity also absorbed Cheetham salt (Cerebos, Saxa and others), Sunburst Regency fruit drinks (Sunburst, Quelch, Prima, Sunny Boy) and the Glad range of household wraps.
National Foods acquired United Dairies in New South Wales in 1993.
National Foods acquired the rights to distribute and manufacture Yoplait products in 1995.
2001 National Foods acquired King Island Dairy Company.
In 2001, the group acquired the specialty cheese makers, King Island Dairy Company.
2005 National Foods was taken over by the Philippines San Miguel.
National Foods was taken over by the Philippines-owned drinks company, San Miguel, in 2005 after which the Berri brands (Berri, Daily Juice, Australian Fresh, Just Juice and many more) were merged into the portfolio.
2008 National Foods was bought by the Japanese Kirin Holdings.
In 2008 the company was bought by Japan’s Kirin Holdings.
2009 National Foods renamed Lion Nathan National Foods.
The company was renamed Lion Nathan National Foods, and soon added the Dairy Farmers and Warrnambool Cheese and Butter to the group.
2011 Lion Nathan National Foods renamed Lion Dairy & Drinks.
The company became the largest in the Australian dairy industry and one of their brands, Pura, was the first milk brand to be sold nation-wide. In 2011 it was announced that the company would be known as Lion Dairy & Drinks.
Lion Dairy & Drinks division has the following brands:
Milk and dairy products.
King Island Dairy
Mersey Valley cheese
South Cape cheese
Tasmanian Heritage cheese
Iced coffee and flavoured milk.
Dare Iced Coffee
Farmers Union Iced Coffee
Divine Classic Crème Caramel
Frûche (fromage frais)
Vitasoy (under licence)
Yogo (dairy dessert)
Capitol Chilled Foods
Lion also has a controlling interest in Capitol Chilled Foods (Australia) Pty Ltd, which is the Australian Capital Territory’s sole dairy manufacturer.
Bega Cheese Ltd owns a 25% stake. The company has the following brands:
Lion has the following brands under its Dairy & Drinks division:
Soft drinks and bottled water.
Höpt sodas (NZ)
Mac’s carbonated soft drinks (NZ)
Kyneton mineral water