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Foreign Take-Over Of Dairy Industry Begins

Media Release

18 July 2008


Foreign Take-Over Of Dairy Industry Begins

The take-over of New Zealand’s dairy industry by foreign investors has begun in earnest following the precedent-setting decision by the Overseas Investment Office to allow Russian company Nutritek to buy 100% of New Zealand Dairies Ltd, says New Zealand First primary production spokesperson Doug Woolerton.

Mr Woolerton’s comments follow the announcement this week that Singaporean company Olam International Ltd has advised Open Country Cheese that it was taking a 19.4% stake in Dairy Trust, and would likely increase its stake to 25% soon afterwards.

“New Zealand First predicted that foreign companies would begin snapping up small dairy operators if the Overseas Investment Office approved Nutritek’s takeover of New Zealand Dairies. Sadly, we were right,” said Mr Woolerton.

“It is obvious that these small companies cannot withstand hostile takeovers from deep-pocketed foreign companies, just as we warned in a letter to Ministers Cullen and Parker a few months ago.

“Following the decision, there is now nothing to stop the Singaporeans buying 100% of Open Country Cheese and the Chinese increasing their stake to 100% in Canterbury milk production company, Synlait.

“The Nutritek decision will in future be looked upon as a sad day for small and independent dairy operators - the day the Government okayed the foreign takeover of the industry,” said Mr Woolerton.

ENDS

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