The Australian government has approved the sale of the nation’s biggest dairy farming company to Chinese billionaire Lu Xianfeng. Van Diemen’s Land (VDL) – which boasts several dairy farms in Tasmania’s north, known for having the world’s cleanest air and water – officially changed hands late Tuesday [23 February 2016], with the deal getting the all clear from the Australia’s Treasurer Scott Morrison. In line with all foreign asset sales, the $200 million deal has been subjected to a review by Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board, which found agreement met its “national interest” criteria…Full Article: China Daily Feb 2016

Key Point

  • Van Diemen’s Land (VDL) was slated to be sold to Australia’s Tasfood for $180 million, but was eventually withdrawn by New Zealand’s New Plymouth District Council in favor of Lu’s Moon Lake Investments.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In mid-November 2015, the Australian government vetoed the sale of S. Kidman and Co., a major cattle operator, on national security grounds. Around the same time, Moon Lake Investments (i.e. Lu Xianfeng, a Chinese businessman) made a successful bid on Van Diemen’s Land Company.
  • In early November 2015, the Melbourne-based Tasfoods Ltd reportedly reached an agreement on acquiring Van Diemen’s Land Company. Tasfoods later sue over its failed acquisition and subsequently received a settlement payout in January 2016.
  • In March 2015, Australia passed a law requiring Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval for the sale of agricultural land valued over AUD 15 million (~US$10.8 million).
  • Founded in 1825 and headquartered in Smithton, northwestern Tasmania, Van Diemen’s Land Company (VDL) is a major dairy company that holds approximately 19,000 dairy cows. The company supplies Fonterra, a New Zealand-based dairy company and the world’s leading milk products exporter.

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