February 24, 2016


China's Moon Lake buys over Australia's biggest dairy farming company


Australia has approved the sales of Van Diemen's Land Company (VDL) - the nation's largest dairy farming business – to China's Moon Lake Investments.


The controversial acquisition will not conflict with national interests, according to Scott Morrison, Treasurer of Australia. Its sale had been contested by Jan Cameron, once the country's fourth richest woman, and TasFoods.


In the meantime, Tasmanians were up in arms against VDL's sale to a Chinese organisation. Voicing nationalistic sentiments, federal MP Andrew Wilkie commented that the development demonstrates the government's lack of understanding about "the importance of Australian ownership of strategic assets".  


Morrison defended the decision by stating that VDL has been under a foreign ownership since its creation by Royal Charter in 1825.


As part of restrictions on foreign companies earning profits in Australia, the government has imposed tax conditions on Moon Lake Investments' acquisition. The company is expected to inform the Australian Taxation Office if it involves itself in transactions with non-residents and overseas companies.


In addition, VDL's current 140 employees will keep their jobs. The company's board and management is not facing immediate changes although more Tasmanian directors may be appointed in the future.


Moon Lake could also invest another $100 million to further develop VDL's land, including another nine dairy farms, The Australian reported.


The company was committed to investing in VDL, for the benefit of raising employment in Tasmania, Lu Xianfeng, the billionaire owner of Moon Lake, said. Milk output and farm productivity would increase with investments in irrigation and the establishment of dairy farms in VDL's 17,000 estate in Woolnorth.


VDL possesses 25 dairy farms and the vast Woolnorth Station in Tasmania's northwest tip.


David Beca, the company's chief executive, remarked that VDL is "looking forward to further develop the potential of dairy assets at Woolnorth and enhance the VDL brand in national and international markets".


According to Moon Lake, 100 million litres of VDL's milk output will still be processed - by Fonterra - in Tasmania.

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