NEW ZEALAND – Yili group, the state-owned Chinese dairy company, has finalised the acquisition of Westland Co-operative Dairy Company, an independent co-operative dairy company in New Zealand.

In March this year, Westland entered into an agreement with Yili to sell its business for US$404 million.

Yili Group Chief executive, Jianqiu Zhang said the acquisition is a significant breakthrough in Yili’s global expansion adding that the purchase strengthens the company’s ambitions of establishing a ‘healthy global ecosystem’ in the construction of ‘Yili’s Dairy Silk Road.’

“In this regard, the acquisition can be seen as a vast dairy bridge crossing the Pacific Ocean, helping the world to share health,’’ ​Zhang said.

According to the Dairy Reporter, shareholder farmers in the former coop have received a cash payment of NZ$3.41 (US$2.24) per share, a 10-year guaranteed competitive milk payout, and guarantees all milk will be collected

 “We will continue to stick to this principle of ‘Mutual Benefit and Win-win Co-operation’ with the incorporation of Westland to provide the world with more diversified and better-quality products,’’ ​ Zhang noted.

Pete Morrison, Former Chairman of the Board of Westland Dairy Company said: ”Jin Gang’s ownership provides confidences, security for our farmers, and the families, and our regions.

Through this processing, all of our farmers have been treated equally and all will be treated equally in the future. This is much appreciated. We are pleased with the fairness principle.

“We will help Yili achieve the long-term goal, to become the most attracted, healthy food provider in the world.”

Zhang added that New Zealand’s strong dairying tradition, high-quality raw milk and well-regulated industry alongside Yili’s access to global resources and markets would strengthen the ties between Asia and the Oceania region.

“We intend to use our global assets of innovation, excellence and quality to create a Dairy Silk Road, linking our two regions on a trade journey that will benefit us all.

“In 2013, we made our first investment in New Zealand in the Oceania Dairy production facility where we have invested NZ$660m (US$433m).

“With Westland now among the Yili group of companies, Yili can provide the world with even more of the incredibly pure product loved and trusted by consumers around the globe,” he said.

Zhang said Yili had committed to paying competitive farm gate prices at Oceania and now Westland to ensure a continual supply to meet rising global demand for its products.