Nutricia takeover targets Sutton Group, Gardians among first to get China registration
By Suze Metherell
May 1 (BusinessDesk) – Sutton Group and Gardians, the dairy manufacturers acquired by Danone’s Nutricia arm, are among infant formula companies to gain registration to export to China under that nation’s new food safety regulations.
Nutricia itself gained registration, as did Fonterra Cooperative Group, GMP Pharmaceuticals and Dairy Goat Cooperative (NZ). They represent about 90 percent of New Zealand’s infant formula exports to China by volume.
Other companies can be registered after the May 1 deadline although owners of infant formula brands who can’t demonstrate a close relationship with a manufacturer may struggle to meet Chinese requirements, Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye said today.
No price has been disclosed for Nutricia’s purchase of Sutton Group, an Auckland-based blending, packing and can-forming company and Gardians, which operates a spray dryer in Balclutha and 18 dairy farms that supply milk and is jointly owned by the Sutton and Patterson families.
China telegraphed its new requirements to the government last week by releasing an audit of a sample of New Zealand manufacturers conducted in March, leaving officials and companies scrambling to interpret the changes in time for today’s registration deadline.
According to financial statements lodged with the New Zealand Companies Office Nutricia’s local arm recorded $373 million worth of sales in 2012, and delivered a profit of $61 million back to its parent company, Nutricia International.