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Chinese consortium scoops up Vic agribusiness

Chinese consortium scoops up Vic agribusiness

Burra Foods has been sold to a Chinese consortium, with a multimillion-dollar price tag.

Firms: MinterEllison (Crothers Brothers); Ashurst (Itochu Australia and Itochu Corporation of Japan); King & Wood Mallesons (Consortium comprising Inner Mongolia Fuyuan Farming Co Ltd, CIC Investment Fund and COFCO)

Deal: A Chinese consortium has purchased dairy ingredients processor and exporter Burra Foods.

Value: More than AU$300 million

Area: M&A

Key players: The MinterEllison team advising Crothers Brothers plus other vendors for Burra Foods was led by partner Tim Watkin. Special counsel Sudharshan Senathirajah, senior associates David Chin and Indra Soysa and associate Nadine Hawa also assisted on the deal.

Deal significance:

Gippsland-based milk processor and dairy ingredients company Burra Foods has been sold to a Chinese consortium.

More than AU$300 million was paid to the vendors for the Victorian company, comprising Crothers Brothers, Itochu Australia and Itochu Corporation of Japan.

Following the sale, the vendors of Burra Foods subsequently reinvested into the purchaser for an aggregate holding of approximately 20 per cent.

The purchaser consortium was led by Chinese company Inner Mongolia Fuyuan Farming, and comprises CIC Investment Fund and COFCO.

A statement released by MinterEllison, which advised the vendors in the transaction, said that the sale involved a number of challenges.

In particular, the interests of minority vendors had to be “safeguarded” and a four-month FIRB delay was imposed on the transaction in the lead-up to the Australian federal election.

“During that time domestic and international dairy prices plummeted and competitor Murray Goulburn significantly downgraded its financial performance for FY16, which impacted the Australian dairy industry,” MinterEllison said.

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