August 31, 2011


China's Bright Food seeks acquisitions in Australia


Chinese state-owned Bright Food Co is seeking deals in Australia as it looks to grow its dairy and sugar businesses to meet increasing demand at home, Chairman Wang Zongnan said Monday (Aug 29).


Following Bright Food's acquisition of a 75% equity stake in Manassen Foods Australia from Champ Private Equity, Wang said that the group's first priority is to see Manassen become operational and gain access to the Chinese market. Once that is achieved, he said, the focus will shift to acquisitions in Australia.


Bright Food, China's second-largest food company, has attempted several other overseas deals in the past two years but without success.


In March, it lost out on a bid to buy 50% of French yogurt maker Yoplait to General Mills Inc. That followed failed bids late last year to buy US vitamin retailer GNC Holdings Inc and Britain's United Biscuits (Holdings) Ltd.


The plan is eventually to create a food group that owns multiple international brands.


"We really have to take a combination of approaches. For instance, with regard to those food enterprises with abundant resources and mature brands we will take them into the Chinese market, as long as there is such a demand in the market," Wang said. "We will try to export to countries and regions world-wide where there is such a demand for the Chinese-branded products."


Australia, one of the largest global suppliers of sugar outside of Brazil and India, presents several opportunities for Bright Food.

China's growing middle classes is demanding higher-quality products and favouring the convenience of processed and packaged food.


Organic foods - nearly nonexistent in China a decade ago - are now in demand, and China's demand for sugar is booming.

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