“We would welcome a Chinese investment in our dairy industry.”
Chinese eye off NZ stake in Tasmania's biggest dairy company
The China Investment Corporation is negotiating a stake in Australia’s largest dairy operation, the Van Diemen’s Land Company, which operates in Tasmania, Fairfax Media reports.
Van Diemen's Land is in Tasmania's north-west has 25,000 dairy cows and 6,500 beef cattle on about 19,000 hectares in 27 farming operations, most of them dairying.
The dairy company, which was established in 1825, has been interested in doubling the Tasmanian enterprise’s milk production along with an expanded workforce with a $180 million injection of investment funds.
It's reported there have been preliminary consultations with the Foreign Investment Review Board about the mooted acquisition by the Chinese sovereign wealth fund.China Investment Corp, which has about $US190 billion to invest internationally, sent four executives to Tasmania early this month, the Australian Financial Review reported.
Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings held a lengthy meeting with CIC’s president, Gao Xiqing, during a recent visit to Beijing.
“We would welcome a Chinese investment in our dairy industry,” she said in a speech in Shanghai.Van Diemen's Land is 98.42% owned by New Zealand company Tasman Farms, whose major shareholder is the New Plymouth District Council.
According to intodairy.com.au, Tasmania’s dairy industry is the only dairy industry in any Australian state to show growth in production over the past year, with a 19.5% increase, compared with a national decrease of 15%.
The Tasmanian Dairy Industry Strategic Plan targets a 25% growth in production by 2015.
Highfield House, which was built in the early 1830s as a residence for Edward Curr, chief agent of the Van Diemen's Land Company, was acquired in 1982 by the Tasmanian government, with funds from the National Estate.