Ross Greenwood: Last week China’s biggest dairy producer – China Mengniu – paid $1.5 billion to buy Australian infant formula maker Bellamy’s.
Now it will shell out $600 million to buy Lion Drinks.
Its key brands are Dairy Farmers, Pura, Big M, Dare and Farmer’s Union.
It will also buy two of Australia’s biggest juice brands – Daily Juice and Berri – and yoghurt brand Yoplait.
Now, this takeover is subject to Foreign Investment Review Board approval, but Lion Drinks has been owned by Kirin Brewery of Japan for the past decade.
But a Chinese takeover of Australia’s second largest milk processor, with close to 20 percent of the market, will be sensitive – for farmers, consumers and government.
China Mengniu’s power is seen by a recent decision to co-sponsor the Olympic Games with Coca-Cola for a reported $3 billion.