The U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog: Market Analysis, Research & News

  • The 2015 Global Dairy Business Year in Review

    By Mark O'Keefe December 24, 2015

    For 52 weeks, we track news by U.S. Dairy exporters and their competitors. We aggregated it all to create a month-by-month archive of 2015, just in case you missed something.

    We recently surveyed our USDEC members  about their information needs and learned that 85 percent said they regularly read our weekly, members-only newsletter, Global Dairy eBrief.

    2015-789723-edited-920978-editedMembers also told us that one of Global Dairy eBrief's most valued features is our summary of corporate news items, which includes mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, new facilities, marketing initiatives and more -- both in the United States and abroad.

    As a year-end service, we went through every 2015 issue of Global Dairy eBrief to pluck out the corporate news. We then arranged it in chronological, month-by-month order so you can see how the year played out in one place.

    Warning: This is the longest blog post we have ever published. You could accurately call it a global dairy business news archive. If you print it, you might just run out of paper.

    But if you want to sit down in a comfy chair next to the fire with a big cup of egg nog in one hand and your fully charged iPhone in another to see if you missed any important global dairy business news made in 2015, you can now do it.

    We put company names in bold for easy scanning. If you are hunting for something in particular, you also can search the page. (On most browsers, click "edit," then "find," then type the company or other words you are looking for.) For example, "Fonterra" is mentioned more than 50 times.

    Enough for the intro. Here is the USDEC 2015 global dairy business news in review:

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    Swiss dairy ingredient company Hochdorf changed its name to Hochdorf Swiss Nutrition AG . . . After a five-­year hiatus, Dunkin’ Donuts is reentering the Mexican market. The company signed a franchise deal with the Mexican unit of U.S. franchisee Sizzling Platter LLC to open more than 100 units over the next five years in central and western Mexico. The company is seeking additional Mexican franchisees for other regions . . . Asian agri­food company Japfa Ltd., headquartered in Singapore, signed two contracts to supply milk to major Chinese dairy processors. Through farms in China’s Shandong Province owned by subsidiary AustAsia Investment Holdings, Japfa will provide 100 tons of milk per day to Mengniu Dairy throughout 2015 and 500 tons of milk per day to Yili Group over the next five years. (Company reports; Wall Street Journal, 1/5/15, 1/1/15; The Business Times, 1/2/15)

    Parmalat paid €11.5 million for Italian milk, yogurt and cheese manufacturer Consorzio Cooperativo Latterie Friulane . . . Kellogg Co. won the bidding war for a controlling stake in Egyptian cookie and cereal maker Bisco Misr after topping an offer by rival Abraaj Group . . . Pioneers Holdings raised its offer for Egypt’s Arab Dairy, topping the former high bid by a coalition of Lactalis subsidiaries (see Global Dairy eBrief, 12/4/14). Egypt’s regulator extended the deadline for further bidding until Jan. 22 to provide time for counteroffers . . . Abdulaziz Alsaghyir Holding Co. formed a new company (Abdulaziz Alsaghyir Foods) and set aside $268 million to acquire food manufacturing, distribution and retail businesses in the Middle East. (USDEC Middle East office; Reuters/Ahram Online, 1/8/15; Messagero Veneto, 1/1/15)

    Lactalis subsidiary Al-­Nour for Dairy Industries increased its offer for Egypt’s Arab Dairy, topping rival bidder Pioneers Holding (see Global Dairy eBrief, 1/8/15) . . . China’s Commerce Ministry approved Fonterra’s offer to buy a 20 percent stake in Chinese infant formula maker Beingmate (see Global Dairy eBrief, 8/28/14) . . . Ausnutria Dairy purchased the outstanding 49 percent of Dutch infant formula maker Ausnutria Hyproca . . . Irish Dairy Board purchased Dairygold’s German retail cheese business, including the Irish Land brand . . . Switzerland’s Emmi purchased Canadian cheese importer J.L. Freeman . . . Australian ice cream and frozen dessert maker Dairy Bell Ice Cream is exiting the business and selling all its assets, including manufacturing plants in Melbourne and Sydney. (Company reports; Reuters, 1/15/15; Wall Street Journal, 1/13/15; AusFoodNews, 1/12/15; BusinessDesk, 1/9/15; Irish Examiner, 1/9/15)

    In memoriam: USDEC was deeply saddened to hear of the sudden passing of two U.S. dairy industry stalwarts earlier this month. Dave Bush, senior VP and COO of California Dairies Inc. (CDI), died on Jan. 7. Dave was a force for CDI’s growth as a major exporter and well respected throughout the industry for his dairy expertise.

    In memoriam: Don Utz former COO of manufacturing operations for Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers, passed away Jan. 5, just five days after retiring. Don spent 45 years in the dairy business and was key to shaping and growing Maryland & Virginia’s dairy ingredients division. He also represented the co­op on USDEC’s board for the past few years.

    Dunkin’ Donuts signed a master franchise agreement with Golden Cup Pte., a joint venture between the Philippines’ Jollibee Foods Corp. and Hong Kong’s Capital Master Fund II. Under the terms of the agreement, Golden Cup will open 1,400 Dunkin’ Donuts outlets in China over the next 20 years. (AP, 1/7/15)

    Arla shows commitment to African business, communities: Arla Foods plans to more than triple its revenues in Sub­Saharan Africa over the next three years while expanding its geographic reach from Nigeria and Ivory Coast to Ghana, Senegal, Congo and East Africa. Milk powder and UHT milk will help drive sales from current levels of $103 million to about $320 million by 2017, the company said. When announcing its plans, Arla stressed its intention to monitor expansion to ensure that corporate gains do not have unintentional consequences for local farming industries and related communities. The company pledged to follow U.N. Global Program and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development human rights guidelines and publiclly report its performance against those principles. Arla is running a pilot program in Ivory Coast and Nigeria that will assess the impact of its business activities on local farmers. It plans to release the results of that assessment this spring. It is also working with nongovernmental organizations to develop the local dairy industries in multiple African countries. (Company reports)

    Ireland’s Lakeland Dairies purchased UK frozen yogurt maker Taste Trends Ltd. Lakeland plans on taking Taste Trends’ Coolicious brand to international markets. (Company reports)

    Japan’s Meiji Holdings and its subsidiary Meiji Co. opened a new ice cream plant in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China. Meiji is targeting sales of ¥10 billion (about US$85 million) by 2020 . . . India’s Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (Amul) earmarked more than $800 million to build up to 10 milk processing facilities in five Indian states. The project is part of a plan to more than double revenues to $3.2 billion by 2020 . . . Mars Inc. opened its new chocolate factory in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia (see Global Dairy eBrief, 12/11/14) . . . Habit Restaurants signed a franchise deal with UAE-based Food Quest Restaurant Management to develop 50 Habit Burger Grill restaurants in six Middle Eastern countries over the next 10 years. (USDEC Middle East office; Company reports; Press Trust of India, 1/18/15)

    Arla establishes new Asian business region: Arla Foods is integrating its consumer markets in China and Southeast Asia under a new division called Business Unit Asia based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Existing offices in Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar, the Philippines and South Korea will all report to the Malaysian headquarters, which is set to open on March 1. The division will set the strategy for all Arla retail and foodservice activities in Asia, including Chinese retail sales through its partnership with Mengniu Dairy. The company also said it was looking to form additional partnerships with local dairy companies to further its goals. Arla set a revenue target of more than €1 billion (about US$1.16 billion) for Business Unit Asia within the next five years, a more-than-10-fold increase over current sales in the market. (Company reports; DairyReporter.com, 1/20/15; just-food.com, 1/19/15)

    F&N renews Nestlé licensing deal: Fraser and Neave (F&N) signed multiple agreements to extend licensing rights to a number of Nestlé brands in Southeast Asia, including Carnation sweetened condensed milk and evaporated creamer, Ideal evaporated milk, Milkmaid sweetened condensed milk and sweetened beverage creamers, Bear Brand sterilized milk and Bear Brand Gold. (Nestlé took back control of its Milo and Bear Brand UHT milk products.) F&N originally secured licenses for the brands when it purchased Nestlé’s liquid canned milk, UHT and chilled dairy and juice business in Thailand in 2007. The new deal runs through 2026 with an option for an additional 10­years. To meet rising market demand for the products, F&N is spending $12 million on new filling and packaging equipment at its Rojana, Thailand, manufacturing plant. (Company reports)

    Schreiber Foods is reportedly negotiating to buy Senoble International’s Spanish dairy business Senoble Ibérica, including manufacturing plants in Noblejas and Talavera, Spain . . . Israel Chemicals purchased Austrian dairy ingredient manufacturer Prolactal and its German subsidiary Rovita. The companies will join Israel Chemicals’ Food Specialties Division . . . Rafi Agri Foods International, a joint venture between Canadian trader Ronald A. Chisholm Ltd. and UAE-­based conglomerate Rafi International, acquired a 20 percent stake in Delta Food Industries, a growing UAE food manufacturer looking to expand into new markets like West Africa and new products, including evaporated milk and sterilized cream . . . Cereal maker Post Holdings paid $1.15 billion for rival MOM Brands . . . Global food and beverage industry mergers reached an all-­time high in 2014 at 563 transactions, according to consultancy Zenith International. The dairy sector recorded the second highest total with 63. (USDEC Middle East office; Zenith International; Globes, 1/28/15; Reuters, 1/26/15; Europa Press, 1/10/15)

    Lone Star Milk Producers and Hoogwegt U.S. Inc. formed a new 50/50 joint venture to build a specialty dairy ingredients plant in the Texas Panhandle . . . Arla Foods officially opened its new butter/powder operation at its site in Pronsfeld, Germany. The €110 million (about US$124 million) project can produce 40,000 tons of butter and 42,000 tons of milk powder annually . . . India’s Parag Milk Foods earmarked $20 million to boost dairy processing capacity by more than 33 percent with an eye on export markets. The company currently exports about a fifth of its volume but wants to expand into Gulf countries, Singapore and elsewhere . . . Egyptian dairy manufacturer Obour Land is building a $7 million cheese plant and $7 million milk and juice facility. The company said the cheese plant will be operational in the first quarter of 2015 and the milk juice facility will open in the second half of 2016 . . . State-owned Oman Food Investment Holding (OFIC) and a group of private sector investors plans to spend $260 million on a vertically integrated dairy complex to manufacture fluid milk, laban and yogurt, as well as juice and water. OFIC hopes to complete the project by 2017 and grow the farm side to 25,000 cows by 2020 . . . Frozen yogurt retailer Pinkberry is opening its first Panamanian outlets via franchisee Royal Food Services . . . Hooters plans to open 30 restaurants throughout Southeast Asia over the next six years. (Company reports; Cairo Post, 1/27/15; Business Insider, 1/22/15, VC Circle, 1/21/15; Times of Oman, 1/21/15)


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    Parmalat paid $105 million for Latin American dairy group Distribuidora de Lácteos Algil, also known as Esmeralda, which specializes in cheese and operates plants in Argentina, Mexico, and Uruguay and 20 distribution centers in Mexico . . . Northern Ireland’s Ballyrashane Co-op confirmed that it is in merger talks with Ireland’s Town of Monaghan Co-op . . . Hong Kong-based Blueriver Nutrition Co. purchased New Zealand sheep milk powder processor Blue River Dairy. The new owner reportedly plans to add a second dryer to Blue River’s South Island manufacturing plant (at a cost of US$29 million) with an eye toward expanding exports to the Middle East . . . UK-based private equity firm Mid Europa Partners purchased a majority stake in Serbia’s Danube Foods Group, owner of Imlek Dairy and Mlekara Subotica . . . Tetra Pak completed the acquisition of Polish cheese technology provider Obram S.A. (Company reports; The Southland Times, 2/4/15; Reuters, 2/2/15; BBC News, 1/30/15; Parma Quotidiano, 1/28/15)

    Ireland invests in collaborative innovation, testing: The Irish government, dairy processors and academia are investing €35 million (about US$40 million) in two dairy innovation centers. A consortium of eight companies and nine research organizations are building a new €25 million Dairy Processing Technology Center at the University of Limerick. The facility, funded in part by the state, aims to support Irish dairy sector growth by taking a collaborative approach to research and new technology development. Ireland’s federal food and ag development authority Teagasc and its nine commercial partners are spending €10 million on a second project to modernize and expand the group’s existing Moorepark Technology facility in Fermoy. The project “will provide a platform to support the ambitions of the Irish dairy industry to produce value-added foods and ingredients for international markets,” Teagasc said. (RTE News, 2/2/15; Business and Leadership, 2/2/15)

    Freedom Foods launches retail milk in China: Australia’s Freedom Foods Group launched its first branded retail product in China: a growing-up milk marketed for children age 2-5 called Own Kid’s Milk. Freedom’s Pactum Dairy Group will manufacture the brand at its Shepparton, Victoria, facility. It is the first product to come out of a 50-year product development deal between Freedom and Chinese ready-to-drink beverage firm Shenzhen JiaLiLe Food. (The Australian Dairyfarmer, 2/2/15)

    Ireland’s Kerry Group signed a 10-year cooperation agreement with Vietnam’s Nova Group to work together to develop nutritional products for the Vietnamese market. Nova is reportedly sinking $50 million into the partnership, which will see Kerry supply ingredients to Nova subsidiary Anova Milk . . . Yo You, an Australian milk producer owned by China’s Ningbo Group, is reportedly seeking to build seven new dairy farms in New South Wales and Victoria, Australia, and a fluid milk processing plant to manufacture refrigerated milk for air shipment to China . . . Beirut-based chocolatier Patchi opened a new factory in Dubai to meet rising demand in the Arabian Gulf region.(USDEC Middle East office; USDEC Vietnam office; ABC Rural, 2/3/15)

    Fonterra Co-operative Group officially submitted a tender offer to acquire up to 20 percent of China’s Beingmate (see Global Dairy eBrief, 8/28/14) . . . Canada’s Saputo said it was likely to make one acquisition this year in the C$500 million-C$2 billion range, with Australia or the United States as the likely location . . . The battle for Egypt’s Arab Dairy continues (see Global Dairy eBrief, 1/15/15). Egyptian investment firm Pioneers Holding re-raised its offer to top rival bidder Lactalis . . . South African dairy processors Sonnendal Dairies and Montic Dairy merged into a new entity called Sontic Group. (Company reports; Ahram Online, 2/8/15; Reuters, 2/5/15; Independent Online, 2/4/15)

    Dairy Farmers of America is building a new $30-million headquarters in Kansas City, Kan. The co-op will relocate 325 employees from leased space in Missouri when the building is completed in December 2016 . . . Ireland’s Lakeland Dairies is spending €36 million (about US$41 million) to expand milk powder processing by 50,000 tons per year at its Bailieboro facility . . . Arla Foods formed a joint venture with Australian cheese importer F. Mayer Imports. Arla Foods Mayer Australia will market, sell and distribute imported and local specialty products in Australia, including all Arla cheeses . . . Chinese meat processor Hebei Fucheng Wufeng Foods formed a joint venture with Chinese dairy manufacturer New Hope Dairy to develop and market new dairy products, with a focus on pasteurized fluid milk and organics . . . The Scottish government plans to launch a global Scottish dairy brand to promote the nation’s cheese, butter and other products around the world. (USDEC China office; Company reports; Kansas City Star, 2/10/15; Irish Farmers Journal, 2/9/15; FoodBev.com, 2/5/15)

    Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) is considering whether to transfer its Zumbrota, Minn., cheese plant over to its DairiConcepts joint venture with Fonterra. Separately, DFA reported that the joint venture cheese plant it is planning for western Kansas with China’s Yili Group will cost about $235 million (see Global Dairy eBrief, 11/13/14) . . . FrieslandCampina appointed Roelof Joosten as CEO effective June 1, 2015. Joosten replaces Cees ’t Hart, who accepted a new position as president and CEO of Carlsberg Group . . . Shake Shack signed a licensing deal with Sazaby League Ltd. to open 10 units in Japan by 2020, starting with a Tokyo store in 2016.(Company reports; AP, 2/17/15; Red Wing Republican Eagle, 2/12/15; Kansas City Business Journal, 2/11/15)

    In what is at least the eighth in an escalating line of buyout offers for Egypt’s Arab Dairy dating back to September 2013, Lactalis unit Al-Nour for Dairy Industries increased its bid to about $52 million ($8.60/share). Egyptian regulators extended the bidding period to Feb. 22 to give rival Pioneers Holding time to raise its offer. (Reuters, 2/15/15)

    Fonterra commissions Dutch ingredient plant: Fonterra Co-operative Group officially commissioned its new dairy ingredient plant in Heerenveen, Netherlands. The facility, developed in partnership with A-Ware Food Group and working in tandem with A-Ware’s adjacent cheese plant, can produce 5,000 tons of functional whey protein and 25,000 tons of lactose annually. Fonterra is targeting high-value pediatric, maternal and sports nutrition product manufacturers in Europe and around the globe. (Company reports)

    Mead Johnson to boost formula capacity to service China e-commerce biz: Mead Johnson plans to add capacity to infant formula manufacturing sites in the United States and the Netherlands and expand its product portfolio to service rising Chinese demand. "The [Chinese] marketplace has changed very fast in the last couple of years, particularly the proliferation of new sales channels,” CEO Kasper Jakobsen told attendees at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York Conference last week. “Most dramatic has been the emergence of e-commerce within China but even within e-commerce there are changes taking place. It is increasingly becoming about business-to-consumer as opposed to consumer-to-consumer and we believe that trend will continue for the years to come." In 2014, Mead Johnson opened its own store on TMall, the popular online retail website operated by Alibaba Group. It also recently launched a branded “destination” on the Chinese social media platform WeChat, where it quickly gained more than half a million followers. (DairyReporter.com, 2/19/15; just-food.com, 2/18/15)

    DineEquity rolls out international expansion plan: California-based DineEquity rolled out a five-year strategic plan for international expansion that will see it significantly increase overseas locations for both its IHOP and Applebee’s names. The company, which currently operates 225 overseas units, spent the past year developing new prototype layouts, menus and marketing programs tailored to specific nations and regions. It plans to focus on Latin American, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. In 2014, it entered three new markets: Guam, Indonesia and Singapore. (Nation’s Restaurant News, 2/20/15)

    Mengniu Dairy is setting up a new subsidiary called Yiqing Food to manufacture soft-serve ice cream mix . . . New Zealand’s A2 Milk filed an application to list the company on the Australian Securities Exchange. Six-month revenues through Dec. 31 jumped 38 percent to nearly NZ$75 million, despite the fact that the company did not ship its first approved consignment of A2 Platinum infant formula (manufactured by Synlait Milk) to China in December 2014 . . . Parmalat Canada is closing its Marieville, Quebec, cheese plant and transferring operations to its Victoriaville, Quebec, facility, as of Sept. 30, 2105. Victoriaville will also see the addition of a new mozzarella line. (Company news; Want China Times, 2/22/15)

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    Murray Goulburn said it was on track to launch in July a new capital structure to raise A$500 million to fund growth projects. The scheme, similar to Fonterra’s Shareholders’ Fund, would allow non-farmers to invest in the co-op while keeping all voting rights in farmer hands . . . Yum Brands signed a franchise deal with Japanese restaurant operator Asrapport Dining to develop the Taco Bell brand in Japan . . . Wendy’s International signed a franchise deal with Kuwait-based Alghamin Indistries to develop the Wendy’s name in North Africa and the Middle East . . . Nestlé Pakistan began a pilot project to market fresh pasteurized milk in Lahore. The company is delivering the product to nearly 100 homes via motorbike and three-wheeler taxi . . . FrieslandCampina named Tine Snels as new executive director of FrieslandCampina Ingredients . . . Synlait Farms, the former dairy farming arm of Synlait Ltd., changed its name to Purata to reinforce its separate identity. Purata owns 13 dairy farms in Canterbury making it one of the largest dairy farm operations in New Zealand. (Company reports; USDEC Middle East office; Wall Street Journal, 2/26/15; Bloomberg, 2/26/15)

    Glanbia completes ingredient facility, seeks acquisition: This week, Glanbia Ingredients Ireland (GII) officially opened its new €180 million (about US$200 million) ingredients plant in Belview, County Kilkenny. The facility has the capacity to manufacture 100,000 tons of high-spec milk powder and nutritional ingredients per year and was designed to scale up to greater volumes should conditions warrant it. Glanbia said the facility would supply customers in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Central and South America through existing and new partnerships.GII also said it was in the market for an acquisition, possibly in the performance nutrition sector. It has €250 million of debt capability for a potential takeover, but would seek additional equity from shareholders if the right opportunity presented itself. (RTE news, 3/5/15; Irish Independent, 2/26/15; Food Ingredients First, 2/23/15)

    Saputo’s Australian unit Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory (WCB) purchased the cheese business of Lion-Dairy & Drinks for A$137.5 million (about US$107 million). The deal includes Lion’s cut-and-wrap facility (adjacent to WCB’s Allansford, Victoria, cheese plant), distribution, sales and marketing operations, and the brands CoonCracker BarrelMil Lel and Fred Walker . . . Ireland’s Kerry Group said it has a €500 million acquisition budget for 2015 . . . Pioneers Holding won the fight to buy Egypt’s Arab Dairy, beating out Lactalis subsidiary Al-Nour for Dairy Industries. Pioneers, which already owned 16 percent of Arab Dairy, paid $33.5 million for another 60-percent stake. The company said it expects to close three more deals in the food and real estate sectors this year . . . China’s Bright Food Group expects to finalize its long-delayed purchase of a majority stake in Israeli dairy Tnuva by early April . . . Murray Goulburn Cooperative purchased Tasmanian ag services business AgriCorp Pacific(Company reports; Reuters, 3/3/15, 3/2/15, 2/26/15; Financial Times, 3/1/15)

    Agropur unit Davisco completed a major expansion to its alpha-lactalbumin processing capacity at its Jerome, Idaho, facility . . . Arla Foods will offer a wider range of country-specific SMP and BMP on the GlobalDairyTrade auction platform starting with the March 17 event: BMP from Sweden and SMP from either Sweden or Germany . . . Burger King Worldwide says its African expansion plans are “progressing at a very vigorous rate.” Through a partnership with South Africa-based Grand Parade Investments, it expects to open its first units in seven Sub-Saharan nations by early next year as it sets up supply chains, and to double its South African stores to 60 by mid-2015 . . . Spanish dairy group Calidad Pascual pulled out of its 5-year-old Venezuelan joint-venture yogurt business Pascual Andina. Venezuelan partner Empresas Polar will take over the operation, which has posted losses for the past two years in the midst of the declining Venezuelan economy . . . Belarus is reportedly considering naming a single entity to handle all of the nation’s dairy exports, with ZAO Meat and Dairy as the leading candidate. (Company reports; GlobalDairyTrade; Belarusian Telegraph Agency, 3/9/15; Bloomberg, 3/8/15; Dairy Markets, 3/5/15)

    Australia’s Midfield to enter dairy sector with new powder plant: Australian meat processing company Midfield Group commissioned SPX Corp. to build a new milk powder and AMF manufacturing facility. The plant, Midfield’s first foray into dairy, would produce both SMP and WMP for export. The SPX press release on the deal did not specify a location, but Midfield had been working with the Warrnambool, Victoria, government on a potential site. Construction is slated to commence later this year, with completion expected in mid-2016. (USDEC staff; Company reports)

    FrieslandCampina expects to spend €600 million to upgrade infrastructure and production capacity in 2015 . . . Pascal De Petrini, managing director of Fonterra’s Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa region, resigned to return to France as Danone’s executive VP, strategic resource cycles, a position that includes managing global sourcing organizations. Fonterra has not yet named a replacement . . . Italy confectionery giant Ferrero plans to build its first Chinese manufacturing facility in the Xiaoshan District in the city of Hangzhou. Local media reported the plant would manufacture 30,000 tons of chocolate and other candy per year . . . UAE’s Al Ain Dairy is building a $110 million dairy farm to house 6,000 cows to supply its manufacturing operations and help meet rising demand . . .Nestlé Purina opened a $92 million pet food manufacturing plant in Poland, its first in the nation. It expects to spend another $44 million by the end of the year to boost capacity. (Company news; Emirates 24/7 News, 3/17/15; FoodNavigator-Asia.com, 3/11/15)

    UK-based R&R Ice Cream acquired Nestlé’s ice cream business in South Africa, including a manufacturing plant in Johannesburg and 14 distribution centers. The company said it plans to use the purchase as “a springboard to grow sales across much of the African continent” . . . Ireland’s Aurivo Co-operative Society purchased British sports nutrition company For Goodness Shakes . . . California-based Wallaby Yogurt and New York-based The Icelandic Milk and Skyr Corp. are both on the auction block. (Company reports; Drinks Business Review, 3/12/15; The Deal, 3/11/15)

    Fonterra completes Beingmate deal: Fonterra completed its tender offer for Beingmate Baby & Child Food Co. The co-op secured an 18.8 percent stake in the company for 3.464 billion renminbi (about US$563 million), a little short of its 20 percent goal. The next phase of the project includes establishing a joint venture to buy Fonterra’s Darnum, Victoria, Australia, manufacturing plant and finalizing a distribution agreement that makes Beingmate Fonterra’s exclusive distributor of Anmum products in Mainland China. (Company reports)

    Yili Group is building a $105 million yogurt and lactobacillus drink factory in central China. Both product categories have posted high annual double-digit growth since 2006 . . . Vietnam’s NutiFood broke ground on a new $74 million fluid milk and milk powder manufacturing plant in Ha Nam Province. The facility, set for completion in the third quarter of 2016, will be able to produce 200 million liters of fluid milk and 31,000 tons of milk powder per year . . . Dubai-based Al Rawabi Dairy expects to enter Bahrain by the end of 2015 and Kuwait in 2016 as part of its Middle East/Africa expansion plan. It already sells to Ethiopia, Sudan and Tanzania and is also looking to North Africa . . . South Korean food manufacturer Pulmuwon entered the cheese business by launching a four-item line of natural varieties. The company contracts manufacturing to a subsidiary of Korean conglomerate E-Land Group. (USDEC Vietnam office; USDEC South Korea office; Gulf News, 3/22/15)

    Britain’s competition authority is reviewing the sale of Dairy Crest’s fluid milk operations to Müller UK & Ireland Group (see Global Dairy eBrief, 11/6/14). Dairy Crest claimed the deal remained on track, but such reviews typically take months . . . Indonesian rice and noodle manufacturer Tigar Pilar Sejahtera Food is reportedly looking to buy Vietnamese dairy processor Hanoimilk(USDEC Vietnam office; The Guardian, 2/23/15)

    Status quo remains at Bisco Misr . . . for now: Kellogg’s purchase of Egyptian baked goods manufacturer Bisco Misr is a strong vote of confidence in the Egyptian consumer market (as is the recently completed bidding war for Arab Dairy (see Global Dairy eBrief, 3/5/15)). USDEC has learned that Kellogg is not planning any immediate change to Bisco Misr’s product lines or three manufacturing facilities, but Kellogg product and marketing expertise should eventually result in an expanded market presence for the bakery company in Egypt as well as the broader North Africa region and a corresponding rise in dairy ingredient needs. Bisco Misr currently imports WPC and whey powder, mostly from Europe and Argentina. (USDEC Middle East office)

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    Mondelez International, which owns the Philadelphia cream cheese brand everywhere except the United States, Canada and the Caribbean, is reportedly looking to sell the business to the merged Kraft Heinz operation. The price tag is estimated at $3 billion . . . Glanbia sold its 50 percent stake in Nigerian milk powder and evaporated milk joint venture Nutricima to its partner in the business PZ Cussons. Cussons paid Glanbia $31 million . . . Saudi Arabia’s Almarai is reportedly planning to invest $400 million to expand existing facilities in Egypt, as well as purchase Egyptian milk producer and processor Dina Farms and confectioner Rashidi El-Mizan . . . Chicago-based private equity firm Wind Point Partners purchased cheese sauce, pudding and yogurt maker Gehl Foods, Germantown, Wis. (The Telegraph, 4/1/15; Financial Post, 3/30/15; Trade Arabia, 3/29/15; Milwaukee Business Journal, 3/27/15)

    UK-processor Graham’s The Family Dairy is building a new $30 million fluid milk, cheese and butter plant and R&D center in Craigforth, Scotland . . . FrieslandCampina and Liaoning Huishan Dairy obtained approval from Chinese regulatory authorities, clearing the way for their joint venture formula operation Friesland Huishan Dairy. Huishan will supply the milk to the joint venture facility near Shenyang. Products (due for launch in 2016) will be branded using a yet-to-be-determined label from Friesland’s stable of global brands. (USDEC China office; Company reports; BBC News, 3/30/15)

    Ireland’s Kerry Group formed a 50/50 joint venture with Dutch fat and oil specialist IOI Loders Croklaan to develop and market products based around Croklaan’s Betapol specialty lipid for infant nutrition . . . Saudi Arabian food and dairy processor NADEC Foods opened a new R&D center in Haradh City, Saudi Arabia, to serve as a hub to develop new products, packaging and processes for NADEC business throughout the Middle East and North Africa . . . PepsiCo plans to invest $500 million to expand operations in Egypt this year . . . Ireland’s Board Bia forecast Irish dairy exports to the Arabian Gulf would jump 50 percent over the next five years. Irish dairy exports to GCC countries rose 28 percent to €247 million (about US$269 million) in 2014. (USDEC Middle East office; DairyReporter.com, 4/7/15; The National, 4/4/15

    India’s Parag enters whey sector: Parag Milk Foods completed Phase 1 of a new whey manufacturing facility at its Manchar, Maharashtra, milk processing plant. Parag claims it is “the first large dairy company in India” to make whey products. Phase 1, an $18 million project, will manufacture demineralized whey for the infant nutrition and pharmaceutical industries. WPC70 and WPC80 are in the pipeline, along with a $10 million Phase 2 expansion. Projected finished product volume is 450 tons per month. (The Hindu Business Line, 4/6/15)

    Fonterra readies dairy farm investment fund: Fonterra Co-operative Group said its Equity Partnership Trust might be ready to begin making its first investments by this October. The trust, which the co-op began exploring in late 2014, would be an open-ended, independently managed fund that pools capital from investors with long-dated liabilities and makes it available to farmer members. The long-term equity would help farmers reduce their reliance on short-term bank debt and help them better weather big swings in milk prices.Fonterra also hopes the fund will help it bolster its membership ranks, particularly in Australia, where co-ops are increasingly competing for suppliers to sustain projected export growth to Asia. Fonterra is also considering selling NZ$250 million (about US$188 million) in six-year bonds for “general corporate purposes.” (Brisbane Times, 4/7/15; BusinessDesk, 4/7/15)

    Netherlands-based ingredients distributor Barentz acquired Indonesian ingredient distributor PT Astabumi Ciptadaya(FoodNavigator-Asia.com, 4/7/15)

    Cheese makes inroads in Korean chicken chains:  Korea’s sizable quick-service chicken restaurant sector is finding new success with cheese toppings. Major player BHC received such a positive reception to its “Sprinkle” chicken with blue and cheddar cheeses rolled out in the second half of 2014, that it launched a second cheese-topped variety this year. BBQ, the nation’s largest chicken franchise, introduced “Cheeseling” mascarpone and cheddar chicken this January, while other outlets have launched spicy chicken with mozzarella. Korea’s foodservice sector was already driving domestic cheese consumption and imports. Continuation of the chicken-cheese trend should give it a further boost. (USDEC South Korea office)

    Foodservice roundup: Western foodservice chains made a wave of international expansion announcements over the past few weeks:

    • Johnny Rockets signed a joint franchise deal with two Malaysian companies: AUM Hospitality and Parkson Retail Group—to open 100 Chinese outlets over the next decade. AUM is Johnny Rockets’ Malaysian franchisee and Parkson operates a network of 60 department stores in China.
    • Dairy Queen signed a development deal with Poland’s Sparrow 4 Sp. Z.O.O. to open 26 DQ Grill & Chill and DQ Treat stores in Poland. The units will be the first Dairy Queen stores in Europe in 20 years.
    • Yum! Brands franchisee Asrapport Dining plans to open a Taco Bell restaurant in Tokyo this month. It will be the first Taco Bell in Japan in decades.
    • Texas-based Italian restaurant chain Russo’s New York Pizzeria plans to open 28 units in the Middle East. Its latest location, with franchisee Prime Hospitality, will debut in Dubai this summer.
    • 3G Capital, owner of the Burger King and Tim Horten’s brands, said it plans to follow Burger King’s international expansion approach for the Tim Horten’s name. The company is looking to partner with established businesses in target countries that have access to capital, and take a more aggressive approach to global growth. (USDEC Middle East office; Company reports; Nation’s Restaurant News, 4/6/15; Wall Street Journal Blogs Japan Real Time Report, 3/31/15; Globe and Mail, 3/27/15)

    Fonterra said it is seeking additional sources of whey in Europe. It already has deals in place with Britain’s First Milk and Dairy Crest, Lithuania’s Rokiskio and Netherlands’ A-ware Foods . . . FrieslandCampina is closing its Der Hollander Food cheese packaging plant in Lochem, Netherlands, and transferring activities to existing facilities in Wolvega and Leerdam, where it will invest $20 million to upgrade capabilities. The company said the project would allow it to handle a greater variety of cheese packaging formats for the EU and international markets . . . Canada-based food conglomerate Grober Group is building a $12 million animal feed plant alongside Cayuga Milk ingredients’ facility in Aurelius, N.Y. The operation, which Grober hopes to open by May 2016, will utilize permeate from Cayuga to manufacture animal feed. (Company reports; Auburn Citizen, 4/12/15; DairyReporter.com, 4/3/15)

    Schreiber Foods purchased three dairy processing facilities from France’s Senoble International. The plants, which produce yogurt and dairy desserts, are located in Noblejas and Talaver de la Reina, Spain, and Zvolan, Slovakia . . . Nestlé is negotiating the sale of its French Davigel subsidiary to European foodservice operator  Brakes Group. Davigel supplies refrigerated and frozen meals and ice cream to restaurants and institutions . . . Turkey’s Yildiz Holding has received at least two bids (one from a Middle Eastern buyer and one from Europe) for its Ak Gida dairy business, valued at $950 million. The company said it was deciding whether to sell or spin-off the operation via an IPO . . . FrieslandCampina sold its Debrecen, Hungary, plant to dairy co-op Alföldi Tej, who will continue to operate the facility and manufacture products for FrieslandCampina . . . Japanese food processor Kagome purchased a majority stake in Tasty Bite, a U.S. maker of packaged noodle and rice dishes. (Company reports’ London Evening Standard, 4/15/15; FoodNavigator-Asia.com, 4/15/15; European Supermarket Magazine, 4/13/15; Reuters, 4/11/15, just-foods.com, 4/10/15)

    Dutch-Brazilian dairy venture targets Brazil, China: Agri Brasil, a consortium of Brazilian and Dutch investors backed by the Brazilian government, plans to build a massive $3.2 billion dairy complex in the eastern Brazilian state of Bahia. The group is constructing four dairy farms of 30,000 cows each and a processing facility to manufacture UHT milk, milk powder, butter and condensed milk. It expects to start construction on the first farm within the next three months, provided the funding comes together, with the first processed volumes coming online in 2016. Agri Brasil expects the farms to produce 1,000 tons of milk per day and the plant to serve domestic markets as well as exports. It is specifically targeting China for milk powder. (Dairy Markets, 4/13/15)

    Murray Goulburn sets capital structure vote, plans capacity expansion: Australia’s Murray Goulburn Co-operative slated a general meeting on May 8 for members to vote on its new capital structure. The co-op hopes to raise A$500 million (about US$380 million) to back growth initiatives that will allow it to better compete in international markets. The new capital structure—more than a year in the making—permits outsiders to invest in the dairy while keeping co-op ownership and control in the hands of member farmers. Murray Goulburn says it plans to increase its focus on consumer cheese, dairy beverages and nutritional powders with the new funds.The company earmarked A$260-A$300 million to expand high-end infant formula capabilities at its Koroit, Victoria, plant, A$165-A$190 million to build a new greenfield UHT plant, and A$125-A$145 million to grow its foodservice cheese operations at Cobram, Victoria. (Company reports; The Australian, 4/16/15)

    Yashili delays opening of New Zealand plant: China’s Yashili International Holdings pushed back the opening of its NZ$212 million (about US$163 million) infant formula plant in Pokeno, on New Zealand’s North Island. Set to debut in February 2015, it is now scheduled to begin commercial production in October 2015.The company said it needed more time to obtain the proper clearances from Chinese and New Zealand food safety regulators.The plant will manufacture 52,000 tons of formula per year when running at full capacity, all of which is earmarked for China. The plant is complete and Yashili is currently running trial batches. The company is also still lining up its raw milk supply (NZFarmer.co.nz, 4/20/15)

    Rivals buy pieces of Australia’s United Dairy Power: Murray Goulburn Co-operative (MG) and Burra Foods bought pieces of United Dairy Power (UDP), the Australian cheese and butter manufacturer that went into receivership last November (see Global Dairy eBrief, 11/20/14). MG purchased UDP’s Caboolture foodservice cheese brand and related processing equipment. Burra picked up UDP’s Gippsland, Victoria, assets (including its main milk depot in Poowong) and associated milk supply contracts. Other farmers supplying UDP were left without an immediate outlet for their milk. The receivers have been unable to find buyers for UDP’s Murray Bridge, Victoria, and Jervois, South Australia, manufacturing sites, which are now slated for closure. (Company reports; The Australian, 4/22/15; ABC Rural, 4/21/15)

    China’s Yili Group is building a $77 million UHT facility in Hefei, Anhui Province. It built three similar plants ranging from $64 million to $79 million last year . . . Arla Foods Ingredients added a second line to its Denmark Protein facility in Jutland that doubles alpha-lactalbumin capacity. The company said it made the investment to meet rising demand from the global infant formula sector . . . ArNoCo—the Arla Foods/DMK Group joint venture whey processing business in Nordhackstedt, Germany—has been running at full capacity since the end of February (see Global Dairy eBrief, 8/14/14). The plant will produce 12,000 tons of WPC and 25,000 tons of lactose per year . . . Al Safi Danone is spending $18 million to expand capacity at its yogurt, UHT milk and cheese facility in Erbil, Iraq. The Erbil plant opened in April 2014 . . . Finland’s Valio plans to cut 320 jobs due to lost sales caused by the Russian dairy embargo . . . A group of 34 organic dairy farmers in New Zealand opened a new cooperative called Organic Dairy Hub Co-operative of New Zealand. The company will not process milk at this time but instead will sell to Green Valley Dairies . . . Dutch ingredient supplier DSM opened a nutrition innovation center in Singapore. (USDEC China office; Company reports; Dairy Trader, 4/22/15; DairyReporter.com, 4/21/15, 4/17/15; FoodNavigator-Asia.com, 4/21/15)

    Australian meat processor Midfield Group is spending A$60 million to turn an old potato chip processing plant in South Australia into a milk powder processing facility serving export markets. The company expects to complete the project in mid 2016 . . . Colombian dairy major Alqueria plans to increase milk powder exports to Africa and the Middle East . . . Arla Foods extended and expanded its exclusive distribution agreement with Israel-based G. Willi-Food subsidiary Gold Frost. The deal grants Gold Frost exclusive rights to import, export, market and distribute Arla cheese and butter products in Israel for the next five years . . . China’s Mengniu Dairy rolled out a new milk drink containing oat and wheat grains and called Telunsu. The company is targeting the growing demographic of on-the-go consumers looking for quick nutrition to match their busy lifestyles . . . Johan Priem, president of Fonterra Co-operative Group’s Greater China unit, will take on the additional role of managing director, Asia Middle East and Africa . . . The South Australian Dairy Farmers Association sent its first commercial shipment of 1-liter bottles of fresh milk to China. The company is contracted to export nearly 4,000 bottles per week for the next three months and, assuming the market responds, expects that volume to double at that point . . . Australian construction company FK Gardiner & Sons is looking to build an A$80 million joint dairy and beef processing complex in Queensland. (Company reports; The Advertiser, 4/30/15; StreetInsider.com, 4/27/15; Dairy Markets, 4/24/15; Packaging Europe, 4/23/15; ABC Rural, 4/22/15; Stock Journal, 4/16/15)

    China’s Beingmate paid $19 million for fellow infant formula maker Dunhua Meilijian, a subsidiary of Meilijian Group. The company operates a vertically integrated infant formula business—from milk production through sales—manufacturing 10,000 tons of formula per year . . . Ornua, the new name for the Irish Dairy Board, is looking for joint ventures and acquisitions to expand its international footprint. The company also said it was developing “products for specific consumer tastes in specific markets,” including WMP for Africa and UHT milk drinks for China. (USDEC China office; Irish Examiner, 4/22/15)

    Chinese investors expand Australian dairy reach: The consortium formed by Australia’s Freedom Foods Group, its controlling shareholder Perich Group, and Chinese ag industry giant New Hope Group—announced last year after Australia and China inked their FTA (see Global Dairy eBrief, 11/20/14)—purchased Australia’s largest single-site dairy producer Moxey Farms. The consortium, known as Australian Fresh Milk Holdings, plans to invest A$80 million into Moxey and other greenfield farms in New South Wales and Victoria. Moxey already supplies A2 Milk (in which Freedom is the largest shareholder). The additional milk would go to A2 for the domestic Sydney market and Freedom’s Shepparton, Victoria, milk plant, where it would be used to manufacture UHT milk and potentially other products for China. China’s Yo You Dairy, a subsidiary of Ningbo Dairies, is having a more difficult time with its investment in Gippsland, Victoria. Yo You bought three farms over the past year and reportedly has its eye on two more properties. Citing environmental, noise and traffic concerns, local community groups have mounted stiff opposition to the company’s plan to build a $6 million bottling facility and barn to house 800 additional cows in Kernot, Victoria—a doubling of the farm size. Yo You plans to export fresh bottled milk to China, making the bottling facility its showpiece for Chinese consumers. It would also contract to have other Australian facilities process milk for the China market. Ningbo owns 30 dairy farms with 20,000 cows in China. (Farm Weekly, 4/29/15; The Australian Dairyfarmer, 4/27/15, 4/17/15; The Australian, 4/23/15, 4/16/15)

    UDP milk suppliers find alternate outlets: Australian dairy farmers unceremoniously dropped by United Dairy Power (UDP) last week after receivers sold off parts of the company and closed two manufacturing plants (see Global Dairy eBrief, 4/23/15) quickly found new buyers for their milk. Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory reportedly took the bulk of the volume, with Lactalis-owned Parmalat getting a small slice. In addition, National Dairy Products, a new milk broker founded by former UDP owner Tony Esposito, signed up a number of farmers as well. (The Weekly Times, 4/29/15)

    Clinical study backs Synlait’s sleep ingredient: A clinical trial from Otago University’s WellSleep Centre supports claims that Synlait Milk’s iNdream3 dairy-based powder ingredient improves sleep patterns. Synlait says it manufactures iNdream3 from milk collected at night when cows naturally produce increased concentrations of melatonin in their milk. Melatonin is a sleep-promoting hormone that plays a role in helping people regulate their day/night cycle. The study found that iNdream3 reduces the time to onset of sleep, increases the length of the deep-sleep phase and reduces daytime sleepiness, fatigue, impaired memory and poor concentration. A Korean company has been using the ingredient in its Sleepiz powder sachets since January 2015. (Company reports)

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    Glanbia Ingredients Ireland officially opened a €17 million expansion to its Ballyragget butter facility. The plant increases Glanbia’s annual butter output from 55,000 tons to 80,000 tons . . . Egyptian bakery Edita Food Industries expanded its licensing agreement with Hostess Brands to cover 12 additional countries in the Middle East and North Africa. (Edita acquired the rights to manufacture Hostess snack cake products for Egypt, Jordan, Libya and Palestine in 2013) . . . Troubled UK dairy co-op First Milk implemented a turnaround plan consisting of cutting costs, revising its milk pricing strategy and refocusing the business on core UK customers. (USDEC Middle East office; Irish Independent, 5/2/15; The Scottish Farmer, 5/1/15)

    Midfield project gains regulatory approval: Australian meat processor Midfield Group gained regulatory approval to build an A$60 million (about US$47 million) milk powder facility adjacent to its meat plant in Warrnambool, Victoria. Just last week, Midfield announced plans to turn a former potato plant in Penola, South Australia, into a milk powder manufacturing site, also at a cost of A$60 million. The “almost identical” plants would take in about 165,000 tons of raw milk per year each, with output targeted at export markets in Asia. Midfield produces about 45,000 tons of milk through its current operations but is in the market for additional volume. The company hopes to complete the Penola facility by mid-to-late 2016. It said it would not start construction on the Warrnambool site (which has faced considerable local opposition) until after Penola was up and running.(ABC Rural, 5/5/15; The Weekly Times, 5/5/15; Beef Central, 4/30/15)

    Turkish food giant Yildiz Holdings sold its Ak Gida dairy business to Lactalis. At press time, Yildiz had not revealed the sale price. Ak Gida posted sales of more than $750 million last year, including $31 million in exports, primarily to the Middle East . . . Kenya’s Brookside Dairy paid $37 million for major Ugandan dairy manufacturer Sameer Agriculture and Livestock . . . H.J. Heinz sold its infant formula and cereal manufacturing plant in Kendal, UK, to a new pharmaceutical research firm called Kendal Nutricare. The company will contract manufacture infant formula (including Heinz brands) and other products . . . China’s Shanghai Pengxin continues to build its stable of New Zealand dairy farms. Through its Hunan Dakang Pasture Farming subsidiary, it paid NZ$43 million for a group of 10 North Island farms milking 3,900 cows. The deal is subject to regulatory approval . . . Masan Nutri-Science became the largest pig feed player and second largest overall feed company in Vietnam by acquiring Sam Kim Co., the parent company of Vietnam Cattle Feed JSC (Proconco) and Agro Nutrition Co. (Anco). (USDEC Vietnam office; Company reports; Today’s Zaman, 5/5/15; Dairy Trader, 5/5/15; The Star (Kenya), 5/1/15; The Westmorland Gazette, 5/1/15)

    Fonterra Co-operative Group completed a new IQF mozzarella manufacturing plant at its Clandeboye site . . . More than 90 percent of Murray Goulburn suppliers voted to adopt a new capital structure that will tap outside investors and raise an estimated A$500 million (see Global Dairy eBrief, 4/16/15) . . . Mexico’s Grupo Lalainaugurated Phase I of its new $50 million manufacturing plant in San Benito, Nicaragua. The facility will process fluid milk and other dairy products . . . Irish whey product specialist Carbery says it expects to increase production 10-15 percent this year in the absence of EU milk quotas . . . Lithuanian dairy Rokiskio is licensing its trademark to an unnamed Russian dairy processor to “maintain recognition” in Russia until the embargo is lifted. The Russian company will market cheese under the Rokiskio name . . . Wendy’s International opened its first store in India. The company is pursuing a premium strategy in the nation, selling sandwiches at twice the typical price point of competitors McDonald’s and KFC. (Company reports; DairyReporter.com, 5/13/15; Food Business Review, 5/12/15; Dairy Trader, 5/11/15; Economic Times, 5/6/15; Irish Times, 4/30/15)

    Glanbia, Teagasc team up: Glanbia Ingredients Ireland (GII) and Ireland’s Teagasc signed a cooperation agreement to deliver “next generation,” value-added dairy ingredients for a range of applications globally. GII and Teagasc personnel will work together at the Teagasc Food Research Centre in Moorepark, County Fermoy, which boasts extensive pilot plant capabilities. “With the abolition of milk quotas and an increasing milk pool, there is a need for rapid transfer of scientific know-how for development of dairy ingredients with new end uses in export markets,” said Teagasc Director Professor Gerry Boyle. (Company reports)

    Glanbia Co-operative Society spun off about 5 percent of its stake in Glanbia plc, a deal that will deliver each of its farmers an average windfall of €15,000 (about US$16,800) and create a €68 million (about US$76 million) member support fund. The society is still the majority shareholder in Glanbia plc with a 36.5 percent stake . . .Glanbia Foods purchased a 120,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Gooding, Idaho, to meet expanded storage needs . . . Latvia’s Food Union shipped its first 10-tons of ice cream to China. The company said it expects a substantial increase in volume moving forward. Chinese regulators recently approved a list of 10 Latvian food manufacturers to export to the nation . . . Finland’s Valio signed a deal with Australia’s MPD Dairy Products for MPD to market its low-lactose and lactose-free milk powders in Australia and Asia. (Company reports; The Baltic Course, 5/20/15; DairyReporter.com, 5/20/15; Irish Independent, 5/15/15; KMVT-TV, 5/14/15)

    Dutch cheesemaker DOC Kaas rejected a takeover offer from Germany’s Hochwald Foods. Kaas is reportedly seeking a merger deal with Germany’s DMK. (RTV Drenthe, 5/18/15)

    Lion targets Asia through Burnie specialty cheese plant: Lion officially opened its upgraded and expanded specialty cheese manufacturing plant in Burnie, Tasmania. The plant, which Lion calls “The Heritage,” can produce 11,000 tons per year. Lion plans to use the facility, which it claims is the largest specialty cheese facility in the Southern Hemisphere, as a launch pad into Asia, starting with its South Cape, Tasmanian Heritage, Mersey Valley and King Island cheese brands. The company has already been testing new supply chains in China via its Lion Dairy Asia arm, which it opened last year. (Company news; The Land, 5/20/15; Sydney Morning Herald, 5/19/15)

    Huishan commits to Shenbei dairy expansion: China’s Huishan Dairy signed an agreement with the government of Shenbei New Area, Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, to invest $1.6 billion in a vertically-integrated dairy production cluster, including farms and processing plants. Huishan has already spent $1.7 billion building two manufacturing plants and 43 dairy farms and developing 860,000 acres of farmland to support dairy operations in Shenbei. (USDEC China office)

    New Zealand to investigate domestic dairy competition: New Zealand’s Commerce Commission plans to launch a study on the state of competition in the domestic dairy sector. The Dairy Industry Restructuring Act that led to the formation of Fonterra Co-operative Group in 2001 mandates the report to ensure “there is workable competition” in the market. Fonterra controls an estimated 86 percent of the nation’s milk supply. The commission plans to begin the study in June and estimates it will take nine months. (New Zealand government)

    Arla, Juhayna form joint venture: Denmark’s Arla Foods and Egypt’s Juhayna Food Industries formed a joint venture to market Arla products across Egypt. Arla said its cheese, butter and cream products fill a hole in Juhayna’s portfolio, which centers around UHT milk, yogurt and juice. Juhayna will own a 51 percent stake in the unit, Arla 49 percent. Arla expects the new company, ArJuFood Industries, will launch sales operations this October. (Company reports)

    Three more infant formula plants in the works: Three companies announced plans to build new infant formula capacity in Canada, Germany and New Zealand:

    • A company called Canadian Milk Manufacturing purchased a former Abbott manufacturing facility and all equipment in Brockville, Ontario, and plans to refurbish it to manufacture infant formula, milk powder and fluid milk for export to China. A local paper reported that a principal in the deal was also involved in a failed attempt in 2014 to build a formula manufacturing and export facility in Scarborough, Ontario. The Abbott plant used to make Similac and Ensure products and shuttered in 2013. Canadian Milk Manufacturing released no details of the timing or capacity of the project.
    • Hong Kong-based He Run International Investment plans to build an NZ$70-NZ$80 million (about US$51-$58 million) infant formula factory in Otorohanga, Waikato, on New Zealand’s North Island, to manufacture 25,000 tons of formula per year. It plans to export and market domestically, with 20 percent of the initial output organic.
    • Switzerland’s Hochdorf is spending €25 million (about US$27 million) on a new infant formula line at its recent acquisition Uckermärker Milch in Prenzlau, Germany. The company expects to start production in autumn 2016. The project should boost infant formula capacity at the facility to 35,000 tons per year.(Recorder and Times, 5/26/15; NZFarmer.co.nz, 5/23/15; Nordkurier, 5/22/15)

    Dutch cheesemaker DOC Kaas voted to merge with Germany’s DMK . . . South Africa’s Spear Capital bought a 27 percent stake in Zimbabwe’s second largest dairy manufacturer Dendairy, which recently expanded to Mozambique and Zambia. (Company reports; just-food.com, 3/22/15)

    China’s Bright Dairy and partner Wuhan Linkonggang Investment laid the foundation stone on a new $193 million fluid milk and beverage plant in Wuhan City. Once completed in 2018, the plant will process 800 million tons of milk per year . . . Saudi Arabia’s Almarai plans to spend $5.6 billion over the next five years on farming, manufacturing, distribution and logistics operations across the Middle East . . . Germany’s DMK is streamlining its ice cream operations, closing plants in Recke at the end of this year and Nuremberg by the end of 2017 and expanding facilities in Waldfeucht-Haaren, Everswinkel and Prenzlau. (USDEC China office; Dow Jones Newswires, 5/26/15; Top Agrar Online, 5/22/15)

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    France’s Bel Group acquired a majority stake in Morocco’s third largest dairy processor Safilait, whose fluid and fresh product lines complement Bel’s leading position in the Moroccan cheese market . . . Chinese ag producerXibu Muye paid $15 million for Yili Group’s subsidiary in Shihezi in the Xinjiang region . . . Vietnam’s Vinamilkhas reportedly set aside $380 million to fund international acquisitions. The company is rumored to be looking in Europe and the Middle East. (USDEC China office; Company reports; Nikkei Asian Review, 5/28/15)

    A joint public/private partnership gave the green light to the building of an NZ$26.5 million dairy research and innovation hub in central Southland, New Zealand. The facility, set for completion in mid 2016, will run about 800 cows and serve as a regional farming R&D center . . . Over the next two years, Synlait Milk is spending NZ$250 million (about US$275 million) to add an additional dryer to its Dunsandel, Canterbury, plant, lifting total plant capacity for all products to 140,000 tons per year . . . Illinois-based Lifeway Foods will begin selling its Kefir and other products in Mexico through a distribution deal with Baja Food Service and Intimidea. (Southland Times, 6/2/15; Drinks Business Review, 6/1/15; Dairy Trader, 5/30/15)

    Fonterra launches overall business review: Fonterra Co-operative Group hired local and international consultants to conduct an in-depth, company-wide business review aimed at developing strategies to upgrade efficiency, improve agility and lower costs. New Zealand media is reporting that job cuts are inevitable. Fonterra members have been questioning the co-op’s performance and business fundamentals after this year’s poor payout and projections for a near repeat in 2015/16. Farmers have asked for greater transparency in farmgate pricing and more straightforward communications from management. Some have questioned the co-op’s debt levels and wondered whether the business has the capital to build a value-added consumer goods company. Fonterra said it would share progress on the review at the co-op’s November annual meeting. (NZFarmer.co.nz, 6/1/15; Dairy Trader, 5/31/15)

    FrieslandCampina paid €180 million for an additional 13 percent stake in its Nigerian subsidiary FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria, raising its total share of the company to nearly 68 percent . . . China’s Bright Dairy & Food is looking to raise nearly $1.5 billion to buy the 78 percent stake in Israel’s Tnuva that is owned by its parent Bright Food Group . . . China’s Yili Group is reportedly looking to form a partnership with Guiyang Sanlian Dairy, the largest dairy processor in Guizhou Province, a region where Yili has no manufacturing operations . . . Australia’s Camperdown Dairy International bought the first of an estimated six farms it needs to supply a planned WMP and infant formula plant in Camperdown, New South Wales. The facility will reportedly produce 60,000 tons of infant formula and 40,000 tons of WMP annually. Company officials say 60 percent of estimated output has already been presold . . . Denver’s WhiteWave Foods purchased Canadian plant-based food and supplement firm Vega. (USDEC China office; Company reports; Denver Post, 6/10/15; Reuters, 6/9/15; The Standard, 6/3/15)

    More job cuts in Europe: Fonterra isn’t the only major global dairy supplier to announce jobs cuts this week. Finland’s Valio sliced 326 jobs due largely to Russian import restrictions. Dutch dairy processor FrieslandCampina plans to eliminate as many as 375 jobs at its Beilen, Netherlands, infant nutrition and ingredient facility and Leeuwarden, Netherlands, condensed milk plant over the next three years as part of a drive to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Leeuwarden manufactures for export markets in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. (Company reports; DairyReporter.com, 6/8/15)

    Job cuts to accompany Fonterra business review: Fonterra Co-operative Group CEO Theo Spierings said the company would slash hundreds of head-office and support-function jobs as part of a company-wide business review (see Global Dairy eBrief, 6/4/15). Spierings said the review and job losses were not simply cost-cutting measures but part of a broader effort to align the company with best global practices. He called it a business “re-set” to operate in today’s volatile global market. In fact, the co-op plans to increase the number of personnel employed in overseas marketing and sales. “We need more people driving the top line in-market . . . actually rolling up their sleeves and selling,” he said.The move aligns with KPMG’s recently released “Agribusiness Agenda.” The New Zealand arm of the global accounting and advisory firm suggested New Zealand dairy processors were investing too heavily in capacity when they should be investing in assets that “enable companies to get closer to their ultimate consumer.” Although KPMG offered multiple scenarios for Fonterra’s future, most showed the co-op’s share of the New Zealand milk supply slipping from current levels of 86 percent to 70 percent or less over the next 10 years as outside investors ramped up activity in the Kiwi dairy sector. Spierings claimed the co-op’s current member level was stable. (Wall Street Journal, 6/10/15; Dairy Trader, 6/10/15; BusinessDesk, 6/10/15; Otago Daily Times, 6/10/15)

    Nestlé invested $16 million to expand ice cream processing and storage capacity at its facilities in Tianjin and Guangzhou, China . . . U.S. food chain Five Guys Burgers and Fries opened its first Middle Eastern outlet last month in Dubai . . . UK-based PizzaExpress acquired its UAE franchise operation from Jordana Restaurants. The company hopes to double its UAE outlets to 14 over the next five years. (USDEC Middle East office; Company reports)

    Fonterra Co-operative Group raised 1 billion Chinese yuan (about US$163 million) selling its third dim sum bond. The proceeds will help fund its investment in China’s Beingmate . . . Oman’s Mazoon Dairy, a subsidiary of Oman Food Investment Holding Co., plans to build a $258 million integrated dairy farm and milk processing plant in the Al Buraimi Governate to manufacture fluid milk, yogurt, laban, juice and water . . . Citing the prospect of “a substantial lessening of competition,” Britain’s anti-trust authorities are extending their probe into Müller’sproposed acquisition of Dairy Crest’s fresh milk business. The investigation will take approximately six more months . . . Egyptian dairy processor Arabian Food Industries (Domty) plans to launch an IPO by early 2016, hoping to capitalize on rising investor interest in the Egyptian dairy and food sectors. (Reuters, 6/17/15; Trade Arabia, 6/16/15; BusinessDesk, 6/16/15; DairyReporter.com, 6/15/15)

    Nestlé downsizes African operations: Nestlé said it was downsizing its Sub-Saharan Africa operations because growth across the 21-nation region has failed to live up to initial projections. The company has already closed offices in Rwanda and Uganda, plans to cut its workforce by 15 percent and expects to significantly reduce the number of products it offers. The company originally set a high bar, aiming to double its business every three years. Officials said they would be fortunate to reach 10 percent annual growth in future years. (Financial Times, 6/16/15)

    UDP plants get new lease on life: Two mothballed Australian dairy manufacturing plants will be up and running again come September after Beston Global Foods, based in Adelaide, Australia, paid A$12 million for the facilities. Receivers shuttered the plants, once owned by United Dairy Power (UDP), in April after selling off other parts of UDP (see Global Dairy eBrief, 4/23/15). Beston, which operates subsidiaries in Brunei, China, Thailand and Vietnam, plans to spend A$24 million to upgrade the plants (in Jervois and Murray Bridge, South Australia) and produce cheese and milk powder for export to China. (The Australian, 6/17/15)

    Synlait to supply infant formula to U.S. marketer: New Zealand’s Synlait Milk signed a deal to begin supplying U.S. baby product company Munchkin Inc. with branded, retail-ready infant formula later this year. Munchkin plans to market the line in the United States and China. The formula will comply with New Zealand’s “Grass Fed” standard, which requires the milk to come from cows exclusively given a pasture- and crop-based diet, with no grain feeding or use of feed not grown in New Zealand. Synlait will pay its milk suppliers a premium for the milk. (BusinessDesk, 6/18/15; Reuters, 6/17/15)

    Chinese dairies keep focus on infant formula: Chinese dairy manufacturers continue to focus on expanding share in the nation’s infant formula market. No less than four manufacturers have rolled out new entries in the already crowded category over the past few months.

    • Mengniu Dairy launched what is says is the first organic infant formula manufactured domestically in China with European raw milk. Mengniu sources the milk, sold under the Rui B’en brand name, from Austria.
    • New Hope Dairy signed a strategic partnership agreement with Walmart to sell its Akarola infant formula (imported from New Zealand) in the retailer’s 400 Chinese stores.
    • Tianyou Dairy re-launched its Shancheng infant formula after investing $73 million to develop its own dairy farms and $13 million to upgrade its production lines.
    • Feihe Dairy introduced Firmus Supernova infant formula. The company highlights the milk’s origin—its own farms from cows imported from Israel—and the speed at which it moves raw milk from the farm through the manufacturing process. (USDEC China office)

    Danone purchased Algerian yogurt maker Trèfle and reportedly plans to invest $20 million to expand production at the company’s facility in Blida, Algeria . . . Arla Foods sold its share of its Belgian milk powder joint venture Walhorn AG to its joint venture partner Lactalis(USDEC Middle East office; Company reports)

    Hilmar Cheese plans to expand cheese manufacturing capacity at its Dalhart, Texas, plant by 20 percent and add capabilities to produce 500-lb. barrels . . . Citing low international commodity prices and high farmgate milk costs, Schreiber Foods is reportedly exiting Uruguay, where it operates three companies: cheesemaker Dulei, whey and milk powder processor Belficor and casein supplier DPU . . . Danone is investing €13.5 million to expand yogurt production at its Rotselaar, Belgium, plant and €8 million in its Kremenchuk, Ukraine, facility to manufacture “new curd products.” (Company reports; Dairy Markets, 6/23/15; De Redactie, 6/18/15; Interfax-Ukraine, 6/18/15)

    Australia’s Freedom Foods and U.S. dairy processor Dean Foods are considering a joint takeover offer for New Zealand’s A2 Milk. Freedom already owns 18 percent of A2. A2 is looking to raise NZ$50 million to fund its expansion plans in China and the United States . . . EU-based grocery chains Royal Ahold and Delhaize Groupagreed to merge. The combined operation generates about 60 percent of its €54 billion in annual sales through its U.S. stores . . . A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking Sysco Corp.’s planned acquisition of rival food distributor US Foods. (Wall Street Journal, 6/24/15, 6/23/15; Brisbane Times, 6/23/15)

    July-501628-edited

    China’s Zhongding Dairy Farming and Russia’s Severny Bur are building a $165 joint venture dairy complex in Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang Province, to supply Russia with milk. The partners plan for the complex to eventually support 100,000 cows . . . ConAgra Foods plans to exit its struggling private-label business less than three years after spending $5 billion to acquire it . . . Godiva Chocolatier plans to double its outlets in Saudi Arabia and the UAE to 30 over the next 12 months as part of a global expansion strategy that will also see new stores in India and Latin America . . . Nestlé plans to open a $120 million factory to produce coffee and “culinary products” (including foodservice packaged sauces, bases, and prepared entrees and side dishes) in Dubai by the end of this year . . . Florida-based Sloan’s Ice Cream signed a development deal with LMZ Cuisines, a subsidiary of Dubai hotel/restaurant/real estate firm Landmark Zenath Group. The deal calls for a minimum of five Sloan’s units, with the first opening in Dubai this fall. (USDEC Middle East office; Wall Street Journal, 6/30/15; RT.com, 6/29/15)

    Fonterra starts up new dryer: Fonterra Co-operative Group began the commissioning process of its new NZ$235 million WMP dryer at its Pahiatua facility on the North Island. The dryer is the third at the site and lifts the plant’s overall output to 140,000 tons per year. Pahiatua will begin receiving milk in August. (Company reports; Wall Street Journal, 6/29/15)

    France’s Candia inks Chinese joint venture: France’s Candia, a unit of Sodiaal, formed a joint venture with China’s ZJNAC, a subsidiary of Zhejiang International Business (ZIB), to market Candia UHT milk and infant formula in the Shanghai municipality and the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang. The products would be manufactured in France from French milk and sold primarily in dedicated shops developed with ZIB (but also online). The joint venture partners are targeting revenues of €145 million by 2020. (Reuters, 7/2/15)

    Beston eyes dairy presence in Southeast Asia: Australia’s Beston Global Food is establishing a hub in Thailand to service ASEAN countries as well as China. The company, which last month purchased two mothballed United Dairy Power manufacturing plants in Australia(see Global Dairy eBrief, 6/18/15), plans to focus on dairy products, seafood, meat and vegetables, initially importing from Australia and re-exporting to the region. Beston’s long-term plan is to establish a dairy production base in ASEAN and work with local cooperatives to improve dairy farm efficiencies. The company did not provide details on a potential location for its dairy center, but it did say its immediate priorities were Thailand and Vietnam.(Bangkok Post, 7/4/15)

    Russia looks to line up more dairy investors, build milk supply: Less than a month after the announcement of a Chinese-Russian joint venture to build a 100,000-cow dairy complex to serve the Russian market (see Global Dairy eBrief, 7/2/15), Vietnam’s TH True Milk says it is looking to take on a project twice that size in Russia. The company is talking with the Russian government about building a 200,000-cow dairy farm and milk processing plant in the Moscow oblast—a $2.5 billion project to serve Russian dairy demand and reduce reliance on imports. Separately, Russian authorities claim Thailand’s largest agribusiness conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group) is planning to invest $1 billion over two years to develop milk and meat production in Russia. Product from that operation, however, would be directed at export markets in Asia. (USDEC Vietnam office; TASS, 7/8/15)

    Murray Goulburn Co-operative raised A$500 million through its listing last week on the Australian Stock Exchange. The money will go toward helping the company achieve its vision “to become a first-choice dairy foods company with global reach” . . . UAE-based Al Rawabi is spending $7 million to quadruple cold storage capacity to meet rising demand for dairy products in the region . . FrieslandCampina opened a new “sustainable dairy zone” in Vietnam’s northern Ha Nam Province. The Dutch dairy processor financed infrastructure (roads, wastewater treatment, storage facilities), will assist farmers with most aspects of production (farm management, business plans, etc.) and will buy the milk for its Vietnamese manufacturing operations. (USDEC Vietnam office; USDEC Middle East office; Company reports)

    Bel builds in Vietnam: France’s Bel Groupe is building a $17-million cheese plant in Vietnam’s southern Binh Duong Province. The plant, its second in the region, will have an annual capacity of 15,000 tons. Bel expects to open it in the third quarter of 2016. The company also said it is planning an R&D facility for Binh Duong. (USDEC Vietnam office; Thanh Nien News, 7/10/15)

    Starbucks plans to open its first Sub-Saharan Africa outlet in Johannesburg, South Africa, via a franchising deal with management group and Domino’s Pizza franchisee Taste Holdings Ltd. The companies expect to debut the unit in the first half of 2016 . . . Nutribio, subsidiary of French dairy Sodiaal, expanded its relationship with Chinese distributor Century International Trade (CIT), which has been distributing Nutribio’s French-made Nactalia infant formula brand in China since 2012. Starting next year, CIT will import and distribute Nactalia Organic to meet rising demand from parents concerned about food safety as well as environmental responsibility . . . The government in the Indian state of Karnataka plans to build a $47 million milk powder manufacturing facility near the town of Ramanagaram. (The New Indian Express, 7/15/15; Wall Street Journal, 7/14/15; People’s Daily, 7/14/15)

    KKR and CDH Investments are paying $245 million for a 9 percent stake in China Modern Dairy. China Modern will in turn acquire the 82 percent stake held by KKR and CDH in two other Chinese dairy farms. This is the second time KKR and CDH will own a portion of China Modern. They bought a stake in 2008, but sold it to Mengniu Dairy in 2013 . . . Vietnam’s Vinamilk paid $3.5 million to raise its stake in New Zealand dairy processor Miraka from 19 percent to nearly 23 percent. (USDEC Vietnam office; China Money Network, 7/15/15)

    Yakult Danone India plans to boost output at its Haryana facility by 50 percent this year to 300,000 bottles per day. The company sees demand for its fermented milk drinks rising at least 15 percent per year for the next three years . . . Mondelez International and Vietnam’s Kido Group officially launched Mondelez Kinh Do, a new business unit that combines Mondelez’s global brands with Kido’s regional Kinh Do cake and biscuit labels. The launch follows the Mondelez’s purchase of an 80 percent stake in Kido’s confectionery business. (USDEC Vietnam office; MoneyControl.com, 7/22/15; Vietnam Investment Review, 7/17/15)

    The Netherland’s FrieslandCampina purchased Belgian mozzarella maker Fabrelac. Fabrelac’s plant in Bree, Belgium, has the capacity to manufacture 30,000 tons per year . . . Northern Irish dairies Ballyrashane Co-op and Town of Monaghan Co-op plan to merge. The combined operation, known as LacPatrick, will be the second largest milk processor in Northern Ireland . . . The board of New Zealand’s A2 Milk rejected a buyout offer from Dean Foods and Australia’s Freedom Foods, labeling it not “compelling.” A2 claims other suitors are waiting in the wings. (Company reports; BBC News, 7/22/15; The Age, 7/20/15)

    Oceania begins formula shipments to China: Oceania Dairy sent its first test shipments of infant formula to China, where parent Yili Group will market and distribute the product. The formula was made at Oceania’s Glenavy facility in South Canterbury, New Zealand, where Yili is funding a three-year, NZ$400 million expansion (see Global Dairy eBrief, 12/4/14). The project will triple annual raw milk handling capacity to 650,000 tons per year, adding infant formula, UHT milk and lactoferrin capabilities. (Dairy News, 7/21/15)

    Fonterra axes jobs; more cuts expected: Fonterra eliminated 523 jobs as part of a company-wide business review aimed at enhancing the co-op’s long-term sustainability (see Global Dairy eBrief, 6/11/15). Fonterra said the move would save the co-op up to NZ$60 million annually. More job cuts may follow as it proceeds further with the review. (Company reports)

    Starbucks RTD drinks coming to Latin America: PepsiCo and Starbucks are partnering to distribute ready-to-drink coffee and energy drinks from Starbucks throughout Latin America, starting in 2016. The agreement covers the marketing, sale and distribution of RTD beverages such as Frappuccino chilled coffee drinks, Refreshers energy drinks and Double Shot Espresso and Cream. The companies project the market to be worth $4 billion, growing to nearly $5 billion within five years.(DairyReporter.com, 7/27/15)

    Danone juggles China businesses, will focus on e-commerce sector: French dairy giant Danone is changing its strategy in China, shedding its Dumex infant formula business and instead turning its focus to the nation’s burgeoning e-commerce channel. In a series of moves, Danone will sell Dumex to Yashili, increase its stake in Mengniu and collaborate with Yashili on its huge Pokeno, New Zealand, milk powder plant due to open in October. The companies were already intertwined. Danone still owns 25 percent of Yashili, and now, 12 percent of Mengniu. Mengniu owns 51 percent of Yashili. Mengniu is controlled by state-owned Cofco Co., China’s largest food company. Danone was the third-largest infant formula marketer in China, with 8 percent of the market, according to Euromonitor. Nestlé sits at the top with 13 percent, while Mead Johnson has 10 percent. Despite its position, Danone has been unable to revive its Dumex business, which has struggled the last two years after being tainted by Fonterra’s 2013 botulism scare. The incident triggered a massive product recall across eight Asian markets, and even though the scare turned out to be a false alarm, Danone has strained to rebuild confidence in the brand. The new Pokeno factory outside Auckland represents Yashili’s interest in controlling its own milk supply. The NZ$212 million (about US$141 million) facility is said to be Asia’s largest single drying plant for infant formula powder, capable of processing 300,000 liters of milk per day at full capacity. All its production is earmarked for China. Opening of the plant has been delayed since February as the company awaits the required approvals under China’s food safety regulations. Meanwhile, Danone hopes to capitalize on the rush of Chinese consumers buying foreign-made infant formula from on-line sites. About 11 percent of all retail sales in China take place on-line, and nearly half of China consumers buy some groceries on-line, according to a recent Nielsen survey. China’s e-commerce market has increased more than 50 percent annually for the last four years. (Wall St. Journal, 7/26/15, 6/14/15; Bloomberg News, 7/23/15; National Business Review, 7/27/15)

    Mead Johnson pays $12 million to settle China bribery charge: Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. agreed to pay $12 million to settle charges that its Chinese subsidiary bribed hospital employees to recommend its infant formula to new or expecting mothers. The company neither admitted nor denied SEC allegations that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits bribery of foreign government officials or company executives to secure or retain business. The SEC said the Chinese subsidiary paid doctors and other professionals in government-owned hospitals to recommend the formula and to give the company the contact information of patients for marketing purposes. The improper payments totaled more than $2 million from 2008 to 2013, according to the SEC. (Associated Press, 7/28/15)

    August-314973-edited

    Lactalis, DFA, Mengniu move up Global Dairy Top 20: A reduced number of large mergers and acquisitions and overall subdued sales growth translated to little major movement on Rabobank’s Global Dairy Top 20 list. The annual exercise ranks the world’s largest dairy processors by turnover. Significant changes include the following:

    •  Lactalis unseated Danone to become the No. 2 dairy processor in the world.
    • Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) moved from No. 6 to No. 5.
    • China’s Mengniu Dairy made the biggest jump, rising from No. 14 last year to No. 11 on the current list.
    • Land O’Lakes rejoined the list after a two-year absence at No. 19.
    • Japan’s Meiji Dairies fell five places from No. 12 to No. 17, while Morinaga Milk Industry dropped off the list completely. (Rabobank)

    Investors plan Mazatlán dairy plants for export: Two entities are planning to build new dairy manufacturing facilities in the Mexican port of Mazatlán with an eye toward export markets. Calkins, Burke & Zannie de México, a division of Vancouver, British Columbia-based food supplier Calkins & Burke, plans to build a milk powder plant, while a group of Malaysian and Mexican investors is talking with government officials about building a condensed milk factory. The Malaysian/Mexican alliance already imports condensed milk through Mazatlán; the new plant would displace some of that volume in addition to providing product for export. Calkins Burke will also be importing milk powder via Mazatlán. (Dairy Markets, 7/27/15)

    Australian mining billionaire Gina Rinehart postponed plans to build an A$500 million vertically integrated dairy farm and infant formula processing operation in Australia with Chinese partner China National Machinery Industry Corp. (see Global Dairy eBrief, 11/20/14) . . . Australia’s Camperdown Dairy International reportedly signed a deal with Hong-Kong-based importer/distributor Great Wall Capital Trading to ship A$600 million per year in infant formula to China. Camperdown, which has been buying property to build dairy farms, operates one factory in Melbourne and is in the middle of an A$120-million rebuild of a second plant in Camperdown, Victoria. (ABC News, 8/7/15; ABC News, 7/27/15)

    Denver’s WhiteWave Foods acquired California-based Wallaby Yogurt Co. for $125 million . . . Investment firm Archer Capital put its Western Australian milk and yogurt business Brownes Dairy on the selling block. Analysts expect the company to fetch A$130 million-A$150 million. (Denver Post, 8/7/15; Financial Review, 7/28/15)

    Fonterra video garners over 63 million views in China in one month: Dairy companies interested in reaching Chinese mothers might want to take a look at Fonterra’s “10 Marks” video. The video, part of the co-op’s “Your Child Deserves 10 Marks” campaign for its Anchor Kids’ milk, garnered more then 63 million views in a single month and was tracking to become one of the most successful viral videos of all time in China. The “marks” referred to in the video roughly equate to a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best. The video, seen on Chinese social media platforms like WeChat and Weibo and through video-sharing sites, plays off the emotional bond between moms and their children. To view it through YouTube, click here.

    PepsiCo enters Chinese dairy beverage market via Internet: PepsiCo, via an agreement with online marketplace JD.com, is rolling out its Quaker High Fiber Oats Dairy drink in China. The drink targets a growing body of on-the-go consumers seeking healthy, convenient food and beverage options. A 350ml bottle retails for 5.9 yuan (about US$0.92) and contains as much fiber as a bowl-and-a-half of oats. “Entering China's dairy beverage market is a crucial part of our growth strategy,” said Mike Spanos, CEO and president of PepsiCo Greater China. For at least the first two months, JD.com will carry the product exclusively on its website. The launch marks the first time PepsiCo rolled out a new product exclusively via the Internet. JD.com has been steadily building its dairy ties in recent months, partnering with A2 Milk to create an Australian product “mall” in June and buying an A$20 million stake in Australian dairy manufacturer Murray Goulburn in July. (USDEC China office; China Daily, 8/15/15; Xinhua, 8/15/15; The Age, 7/9/15; Australian Financial Review, 6/29/15)

    Fonterra’s new WMP dryer at its Pahiatua, North Island, complex began commercial production (see Global Dairy eBrief, 7/2/15). The co-op expects it to reach full capacity (handling nearly 2,500 tons of milk per day) by October . . . Actor Mark Wahlberg and his brothers signed a deal that will bring 20 Wahlburgers burger restaurants to the Middle East. (USDEC Middle East office; Company reports)

    Fonterra expands in Ethiopia: Fonterra Co-operative Group and Ethiopia’s Faffa Foods formed a new Ethiopian joint venture to blend, package and market Anchor brand fortified milk powder. Faffa had been buying Fonterra powder and packaging it under the Abay name, which it plans to discontinue in favor of Anchor. The new company—30 percent owned by Faffa, 70 percent by Fonterra—plans to sell 2,000 tons of powder in the first year, rising to 6,000 tons by 2018. The partners will spend $10 million to upgrade and expand facilities in Ethiopia. (Addis Fortune, 8/24/15; The Ethiopian Herald, 8/19/15)

    As many as eight companies have reportedly expressed interest in buying Archer Capital’s Australian dairy business Brownes, including China’s Bright Foods and Fosun, Philippine-based Monde Nissin and domestic Australian food concern Lion Nathan. Bids are due at the end of August . . . Australia’s Burra Foods hired investment bank Moelis and ANZ Bank to conduct a strategic review that analysts expect could see the dairy processor sold for up to A$375 million (about US$270). (The Australian, 8/26/15) September-800187-edited

    Mitsubishi Corp. paid $1.1 billion for a 20 percent stake in Singaporean ag conglomerate Olam International. Olam will reportedly use the money to exploit merger and acquisition opportunities created by the slump in global commodities markets. (Reuters, 8/29/15)

    Lakeland opens new foodservice export center: Lakeland Dairies opened a new $12 million Global Logistics Center at its Pritchitts foodservice manufacturing site in Newtownards, Northern Ireland. The facility “underpins the long-term export potential” for dairy, the company said. The Newtownards site produces 100,000 tons of dairy products per year, including ice cream mix, UHT milk, flavored milk, milk portions, dairy creams, powdered desserts and ice cream powder. (Farming Life, 9/2/15)

    Arla forms two joint ventures in Sub-Saharan Africa: Arla Foods formed two new joint ventures in Africa as part of a long-term growth plan to expand Sub-Saharan revenues from €90 million to €460 million by 2020. The Danish dairy giant established a 50/50 partnership with Nigerian distributor Tolaram Group that will fold its existing Nigerian business (€80 million in annual sales) into the new venture named TG Arla Dairy Products LFTZ Enterprise. Arla expects Nigerian revenues to reach €240 million by 2020.In Senegal, it formed a joint venture with conglomerate Attieh Group called Arla Senegal. The business, 75 percent owned by Arla, 25 percent by Attieh, will be operational by year-end, and Arla expects sales to hit €32 million by 2020. Attieh, through its subsidiary Agroline, operates an extensive distribution network in Senegal. Arla plans to focus on milk powder and liquid milk in the region and eventually expand to butter and cheese. “We are here to build a long-term business, and that requires strong local partners,” Arla said. A USDEC research report released in late 2014 found that local partnerships are key to developing sales potential in Sub-Saharan Africa. To learn more about USDEC’s Sub-Saharan research report or request a copy, click here(Company reports)

    Fonterra opens Indonesia blending plant, updates NZ production forecast: Fonterra opened a US$24 million blending and packing plant in West Java, Indonesia, its first manufacturing facility in the country. The plant has the capacity to package about 16,000 tons per year of Anmum infant formula, Anlene nutritional milk, and Anchor Boneeto high-calcium milk to meet growing demand for nutritional products.Separately, Fonterra maintained its New Zealand milk volume forecast for 2015/16 at 2-3 percent lower than last season. The company said, however, that there was evidence farmers were already pulling back on production through increased culling and lower use of feed supplements, which could lead to a further downward revision later in the year. (Company reports)

    New plant in development in Oman: Developers are building a new dairy plant near Muscat, Oman, that will produce 50,000 liters of long-life milk, yogurt and laban per day when operational in mid-2016. The plant is a joint venture funded 40 percent by private equity and 60 percent bank financing. The company will target the domestic market, which currently imports 85 percent of its dairy needs, as well as exports to Uganda and Tanzania. According to the developers, the finished product will be made in part with whole milk powder imported from the United States and New Zealand. The company says food demand in the GCC is expected to double to $52 billion in the next five years, and more than a third of the processed food industry is dairy and juice. (USDEC Middle East office)

    Fonterra completes Edendale expansion to boost MPC, AMF output: Fonterra completed an NZ$157 million expansion at its Edendale manufacturing plant on the South Island. The three-pronged project added MPC and AMF capacity as well as a reverse osmosis line to increase capacity on an existing dryer. The effort is part of Fonterra’s broader strategy to improve production flexibility and product mix to respond to shifting demand and maximize returns.Together, the three projects increase Edendale’s production capacity by 10 percent. The company did not report increased volumes by product, but the plant had been manufacturing about 420,000 tons of dairy products annually, prior to the upgrade. New Zealand MPC exports were already up 29 percent to 52,000 tons through the first seven months of 2015. (Dairy Markets, 9/14/15; NZFarmer.co.nz, 9/11/15)

    The New Zealand government, against the advice of the nation’s foreign investment watchdog, blocked a Chinese bid to purchase a 34,000-acre North Island sheep and cattle farm. The government said the benefits of the deal were not substantial enough. Pure 100 Farm, a subsidiary of Shanghai Pengxin Group, had made the bid . . . Egyptian snack maker Edita is building a new factory to produce Hostess brand products. Edita owns the right to manufacture Twinkies, Ho Hos, Tiger Tail and other Hostess labels across the region . . . A high-level Chinese dairy delegation with representatives from China Food & Drug Administration, Alibaba Group, Hong Kong retailer Vanguard and five major dairy manufacturers toured the Irish dairy sector this week to learn about the nation’s dairy industry and review China’s food safety regulations . . . New Zealand’s Westland Milk Products is conducting a strategic review of its business with an eye to eliminate jobs and increase efficiency. The company’s new NZ$102 million infant formula line at its Hokitika plant on the South Island is slated to start-up this month.(USDEC Middle East office; Dow Jones Newswires, 9/17/15; AgriHQ, 9/14/15; Agriland, 9/13/15)

    Mondelez International quashed rumors that it was looking to sell its European cheese and spreads business, despite having spun-off the unit earlier this year. Kraft Heinz was reportedly interested in acquiring the business, which sells Philadelphia cream cheese and other grocery brands overseas . . . Ireland’s Carbery Group divested its 50 percent stake in Brazilian joint venture Nutrifont. Lactalis acquired the company’s interest when it purchased Carbery’s joint venture partner BRF earlier this year . . . Shanghai Maling Aquarius, a subsidiary of China’s Bright Foods, took a 50 percent stake in New Zealand meat supplier Silver Fern Farms. (Irish Examiner, 9/16/15; Reuters, 9/15/15; BusinessDesk, 9/15/15)

    CDI commissions Visalia evaporator for high-specification products: California Dairies Inc. (CDI) commissioned a new evaporator at its Visalia, Calif., facility. The evaporator, the third at Visalia, provides CDI the ability to produce low-spore NFDM and SMP, in addition to high-heat, heat-stable and low-spore milk powders for UHT applications. The company says it made the investment to increase its presence in the global marketplace by producing the high-specification, value-added and specialty dairy products that the world market demands. (Company reports)

    Yashili International paid $165 million for Oushi Mengniu, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mengniu Dairy that manufactures infant formula and adult milk powder products. Mengniu Dairy owns a 51 percent stake in Yashili . . . Chinese infant formula maker Biostime International is paying nearly $1 billion for a majority stake in Australian health supplement maker Swisse Wellness Group . . . Singapore investment group Temasek Holdings and Saudi Arabian food conglomerate Savola Group made an offer to buy fast-food franchiser and vegetable processorKuwait Food Co. (also known as Americana), which operates Pizza Hut, TGI Friday’s, KFC and other chains in the Middle East and North Africa. (USDEC China office; USDEC Middle East office; Wall Street Journal, 9/23/15; Bloomberg, 9/17/15)

    FrieslandCampina is reportedly considering shipping premium infant formula to western China via rail to shorten delivery times. A new rail line linking Duisberg, Germany, and the southwestern city of Chongqing opened last year and has been gaining popularity . . . Vietnam’s Anova Milk, a subsidiary of Nova Group, launched Anka Milkinfant formula via a partnership deal with Kerry Group signed earlier this year (see Global Dairy eBrief, 2/5/15). Kerry manufactures and packages the product in Ireland. Each can features a traceability code that allows consumer to look up a variety of production-related information, including the packaging date and quality tests performed . . . Korea Yakult is considering entering the cheese business to boost sagging revenues. It tangentially ventured into cheese by launching a line of stirred yogurts with cheese earlier this year. (USDEC South Korea office; USDEC Vietnam office; Dairy Industry Newsletter, 9/17/15)

    Fonterra looks to capitalize on pasture-fed reputation: Fonterra is asking its farmers to limit use of palm kernel expeller (PKE) as supplemental feed to “future-proof” its position as a “trusted producer of pasture-based products and to stay ahead of global consumer expectations.” The co-op contends its reputation for grass feeding earns it a premium on the world market, even though its farmers routinely utilize supplemental feed. New Zealand imported more than 2 billion tons of PKE in 2013/14, a 25 percent gain from the previous year. Fonterra’s new guidelines propose a maximum of 3kg per cow per day of PKE. Farmers responded cautiously to the proposal, some asking for data on the kind of premium Fonterra says pasture feeding provides. (Company reports; NZFarmer.co.nz, 9/21/15)October-119555-edited

    Lone Star Milk Producers broke ground on a new joint venture specialty dairy ingredients plant in Canyon, Texas. Hoogwegt U.S. is Lone Star’s partner . . . Swiss Valley Farms broke ground on a $21 million expansion and upgrade to its Luana, Iowa, cheese facility . . . Officials from Garden City, Kansas, approved $240 million in funding for Meadowlark Dairy Nutrition (a subsidiary of Dairy Farmers of America) to build a dairy powder plant in the area . . .The Qatari government is developing a vertically integrated dairy farm and processing facility in an effort to lessen its dependence on imports. The government expects the operation will reach full capacity—about 20,000 tons of milk annually—within three years . . . Saudi Arabian dairy processor Almarai raised $427 million in a sukuk bond issue to help finance its $5.6 billion 2016-2020 capital investment plans. (USDEC Middle East office; Company reports; Agrinews.com, 9/29/15; MyHighPlains.com, 9/28/15; KWCH, 9/16/15)

    Fonterra farmers upset with PKE restrictions; co-op to kill GMP scheme: Fonterra Co-operative Group farmers expressed displeasure with the co-op’s announcement that it was looking to limit the use of palm kernel expeller (PKE) as feed (see Global Dairy eBrief, 9/24/15). Producers questioned why Fonterra felt it necessary to establish PKE guidelines, why farmers were not consulted and how the co-op arrived at its 3kg per cow per day limit. Such rules would have significant impact on farm profitability during years of low cash flow and/or drought (which this this year is for many farmers). They also wondered if Fonterra intends to pay a premium for farms abiding by the guidelines or penalize farmers who fail to adhere to the restrictions.In other policy changes, Fonterra plans to eliminate its guaranteed milk price (GMP) scheme at the end of the current season. The voluntary system locked-in a farmgate payout for a limited portion of milk solids. It was seen as a tool to mitigate volatility but received mixed reaction from members. NZX is reportedly developing a risk management tool for milk prices and is slated to meet with stakeholders in the coming weeks to discuss details and a launch date. (NZME, 9/30/15; The Australian Dairyfarmer, 9/28/15)

    Corporate, research partnerships seek to develop dairy products for Asia: Dairy processors in China and elsewhere are shoring up cooperative relationships with research universities and organizations to bolster R&D efforts. Chinese dairy processor Yili Group is leading the new SINO-U.S. Food Wisdom Valley project, which counts a number of top-line U.S. agriculture and business schools as participants, including Cornell University and the University of California-Davis (UC-Davis). Food Wisdom Valley seeks to upgrade agricultural cooperation between the United States and China, with a focus on nutrition and health, new product development, food safety, ag technology, sustainability and all aspects of farm operation. The first new product target is reportedly a cheese developed with Cornell that utilizes ingredients (such as soy protein) familiar to Chinese consumers. Separately, Mengniu Dairy and UC-Davis signed a Memorandum of Understanding last month to form the Mengniu-UC Davis Nutrition and Health Innovation Partnership. That project looks to develop novel and innovative food systems to improve nutrition and health for consumers in Asia, particularly those in China. Outside the United States, New Zealand’s Miraka inked a partnership deal with state-owned AgResearch and Plant & Food Research to develop a family of shelf-stable and healthy dairy-based UHT milk products featuring plant of vegetable ingredients. The project will target high-value markets in Asia. (USDEC China office; Company reports; DairyReporter.com, 9/29/15; Dairy Markets, 9/28/15)

    UK-based R&R Group, its parent PAI Partners and Nestlé are in talks to create a global joint venture comprising R&R’s ice cream businesses in Europe and South Africa, Nestlé’s ice cream businesses in Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Europe and the Philippines, and Nestlé’s European frozen food businesses (excluding pizza) . . . Less than a month after denying rumors that it might sell its European cheese and grocery business (see Global Dairy eBrief, 9/17/15), Mondelez International hired Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase to find buyers for the unit, which is valued at $3 billion. Kraft Heinz has first right of refusal to purchase the assets . . . Saputo purchased Canada-based goat cheese manufacturer Woolwich Dairy, which also operates a plant in Wisconsin . . . Unilever purchased Italian gelato maker and retailer Grom. (Company reports; Dairy Markets, 10/5/15; Reuters, 10/1/15)

    Lanco Dairy Farms acquired a shuttered Saputo mozzarella plant near Hancock, Md., and plans to reopen the facility. Lanco released no details of the project . . . Dairy Farmers of America is closing its Plymouth, Wis., cheese plant, citing outdated equipment and infrastructure. (Company reports; AP, 10/6/15, 10/3/15)

    New Zealand’s A2 Milk issued shares for institutional investors to raise more than NZ$40 million (about US$27 million) to help fund domestic and international expansion plans, with a focus on China, the UK and the United States . . . Fonterra opened four instructional kitchens in China to teach chefs from bakeries, cafes and pizzerias how to incorporate dairy into their recipes. (Sydney Morning Herald, 10/8/15; Reuters, 9/24/15)

    DFA releases details on Meadowlark project: Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) broke ground on a new ingredient manufacturing plant in Garden City, Kansas. The 214,000-sq.-ft. Meadowlark Dairy Nutrition facility will produce a variety of dairy ingredients, with a focus on milk powders for domestic and global markets. It will handle 4 million lbs. of milk per day and is slated for completion by the end of 2017.China’s Yili Group is not involved in the project. DFA said it expects Yili “to remain a key customer” and the co-op is “open to considering Yili as an investor in the future.” It added that the Chinese dairy giant stepped away from the plant project due to this year’s extremely volatile global dairy markets. (Company reports; Garden City Telegraph, 10/8/15; Kansas City Business Journal, 10/8/15)

    Hong Kong-based He Run International Investment pulled out of a plan to build an NZ$80 million infant formula and specialty dairy product plant in Otorohanga, Waikato, on New Zealand’s North Island (see Global Dairy eBrief, 5/28/15). He Run was the major investor, providing 70 percent of the backing . . . Oranje Nutrition, a Dutch company backed by Chinese investors, is building a €30 million infant formula manufacturing plant in Heerenveen, Netherlands. The company expects to have the facility up and running by the third quarter of 2016. Oranje will target the Chinese market . . . Sargento Foods is building a 60,000-sq.-ft. million addition to its plant in Hilbert, Wis. . . .Vertically integrated Chinese dairy producers Lanzhou Zhuangyuan Pasture launched an IPO on the Hong Kong stock market to raise $19 million. The company plans to use the money to buy cows from Oceania and expand its cold chain infrastructure . . . Pure 100 Farm Ltd., a unit of Shanghai Pengxin Group, plans to seek a judicial review of New Zealand’s surprise rejection of its bid to buy a large North Island farm. Another Pengxin unit backed out of a separate deal to buy a group of North Island farms after the rejection and uncertainty that the Kiwi Overseas Investment Office would approve the transaction. (USDEC China office; NZFarmer.co.nz, 10/20/15; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10/15/15; Dow Jones Newswires, 10/14/15; Wall Street Journal, 10/11/15; Food Holland, 10/8/15; Dairy Industry Newsletter, 10/8/15)

    The Vietnamese government is selling its entire stake in the nation’s top dairy company, Vinamilk, as part of a broader business privatization drive. The government owns a 45 percent share of Vinamilk worth about $2.5 billion . . . Italian dairy group Granarolo purchased a 25 percent stake in New Zealand distributor European Foods, with an option to acquire another 26 percent. The company expects the investment will help expand distribution for its cheese and other products in Oceania and Southeast Asia . . . Britain’s competition authority finally approved the sale of Dairy Crest’s fluid milk business to Müller UK & Ireland Group, nearly a year after Müller first announced the offer. (Jakarta Post/Asia News Network, 10/21/15; Express & Star, 10/19/15; Dairy Industry Newsletter, 10/15/15; Reuters, 10/13/15)

    Yum to spin off China operations: Yum Brands plans to spin-off its China operations into a separate unit called Yum China, based in Shanghai. Yum’s Chinese operations have faced a series of difficulties over the past couple years, including food safety questions, an influx of competition and slowing Chinese economic growth. But the business owns 6,900 Chinese outlets and posted revenues of $6.9 billion last year. Yum China will operate as Yum Brands’ largest franchisee. Media reports suggest Yum will complete the deal (pending board approval) by the end of the year. (AP, 10/20/15; Wall Street Journal, 10/20/15)

    Select Milk Producers slated a news conference tomorrow to announce plans to invest $250 million to convert an old denim mill in Littlefield, Texas, into a milk processing plant . . . Fonterra opened a new support services center in Malaysia under the name Global Business Services Asia. The co-op says the center will improve customer service through better time-zone alignment and language capabilities, helping to grow existing markets and expand into new ones . . . Lanco-Pennland Quality Milk Producers released more details on its upgrade of a former Saputo cheese plant near Hancock, Md. The company hopes to bring the facility back online in July 2016, producing Italian cheeses, cheddar, gouda and other varieties and handling more than 11,000 tons of raw milk per month . . . Arla Foods is closing its Kisslegg-Zaisenhofen cheese manufacturing plant because the facility is “not economically viable.” The company attributed the closure to increased international competition and reduced prices. (Company reports; The Sun Daily, 10/27/15; KCBD, 10/27/15; Lancaster Farming, 10/24/15)

    Japan’s Morinaga Milk and China’s Zhejiang Mingwang, a subsidiary of Want Want China Holdings formed a joint venture to export and market Morinaga milk powder to China beginning early next year . . . Australia’s Murray Goulburn paid Japan’s Mitsubishi A$4.8 million for its 24 percent stake in Tasmanian Dairy Products, giving MG total control of its fellow Aussie dairy processor . . . China’s Beingmate and South Korea’s Maeil Dairies are forming a joint venture to produce and market special-purpose infant formula for the Chinese market. They are calling the company Hangzhou Beingmate Maeil Food . . . Beingmate’s board also approved the establishment of a joint venture with Fonterra Co-operative Group to purchase Fonterra’s Darnum, Australia, manufacturing plant. The purchase was part of the companies’ partnership plans announced last year and will focus on nutritional powders . . . Australian vitamin firm Blackmores is forming a 50/50 joint venture with fellow Aussie firm Bega Cheese to manufacture and sell a range of “life-stage formulas” in China, including infant and senior nutrition products . . . French cooperatives Sodiaal and Cooperative Laitiere de Haute-Normandie expect to submit merger plans before summer 2016 . . . Ireland’s Ornua is merging two of its UK-based businesses—Meadow Cheese and The Cheese Warehouse—into a single cheese and dairy ingredient company called Ornua Ingredients UK. (USDEC China office; Company reports; Brisbane Times, 10/29/15; Reuters, 10/29/15; DairyReporter.com, 10/28/15)November-257587-edited

    Fonterra opens Guangzhou foodservice customer service center: Fonterra opened a new Applications Center in Guangzhou to capitalize on foodservice growth in southern China. The center, its second in China, will host technology demonstrations, conduct professional training sessions, assist with recipe development and marketing, and collaborate with Fonterra’s global R&D teams. Additional Application Centers are reportedly planned for Beijing and Chengdu.In other Fonterra news, the co-op began producing wrapped cheese slices on a new production line at its Eltham, South Taranaki, facility. Fonterra is looking to tap the international grocery channel with the line, part of an overall NZ$32 million (about US$22 million) Eltham upgrade set for completion in February 2016. (Company reports; China Daily, 10/30/15)

    Fonterra collected about US$53 million by selling off its 9 percent stake in Australia’s Bega Cheese. The co-op said the deal frees up capital for future growth initiatives . . . UAE food and dairy manufacturer National Food Products Co. (NFPC) plans to divest up 51 percent of the company for around $1.5 billion . . . The J.M. Smucker Co. sold its U.S. canned milk brands and manufacturing plants in El Paso, Texas, and Seneca, Mo., to Eagle Family Foods Group. The deal does not include Smucker canned milk business in Canada . . . Singapore-based conglomerate Fraser and Neave (F&N) is one of the rumored suitors for the Vietnamese government’s 45 percent stake in Vinamilk (see Global Dairy eBrief, 10/22/15). F&N denied that it had submitted a $4 billion bid for Vietnam’s largest dairy processor. (USDEC Middle East office; Company reports; The Business Times, 11/3/15; Reuters, 10/30/15)

    Glanbia plans New Mexico cheese expansion: Glanbia is in advanced talks with partners in its Southwest Cheese plant to expand capacity at the Clovis, N.M, facility by 30 percent. If approved, Glanbia and the dairy cooperatives of the Greater Southwest Agency, including Dairy Farmers of America and Select Milk Producers, would spend $140 million on the two-year project. (Company reports)

    FrieslandCampina opened a new galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS) production facility in Borculo, Netherlands. The plant will make and market GOS under the company’s Vivinal brand primarily for infant nutrition applications . . .FrieslandCampina’s Alaska Milk Corp. opened a new milk powder and creamer plant in the Philippines. The facility will service the entire Southeast Asia region . . . Fonterra Co-operative Group completed its NZ$11 million lactoferrin upgrade at its Hautapu, North Island, site. The project doubles annual lactoferrin output at the facility to 16 tons . . . Japan’s Megmilk Snow Brand shuttered its Thai infant formula business . . . Tetra Pak opened its first Customer Innovation Center in Dubai. The center, the first of seven around the world, will work with clients to develop new products utilizing the company’s packaging technology . . . Hong Kong-based infant formula maker Ausnutria is planning a share offer to raise $32 million for plant construction and loan repayment. (USDEC Middle East office; USDEC Japan office; Company reports; Dow Jones Newswires, 10/28/15

    LacPatrick slates $45 expansion to target exports: Northern Irish dairy manufacturer LacPatrick, the company formed earlier this year by the merger of Town of Monaghan Co-op and Ballyrashane Co-op, is spending €42 million (about US$45 million) to expand its Artigarvan milk powder plant in Country Tyrone. The project will add a new evaporator and spray-drying tower for advanced dairy ingredients for markets in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, as well as Europe. The co-op already began work at the site and expects the facility will be fully operational by April 2017. (Irish Examiner, 11/11/15)

    Mister Pizza in growth mode in Asia: South Korea’s Mister Pizza chain opened its 100th Chinese outlet in October and expects to have 20 more operating by the end of the year. The restaurant has accelerated expansion since forming a partnership with China’s Golden Eagle Retail Group early last year. Mister Pizza, which operates 430 stores in its home country and imports cheese from the United States and Europe, plans to target Southeast Asia next (including Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines) via similar joint venture strategies. (USDEC South Korea office)

    Arla Foods plans to sell its last business with no dairy links: Scandinavian juice manufacturer Rynkeby Foods . . .FrieslandCampina Kievit sold its commercial drinks vending business to chocolate maker Barry Callebaut. The FrieslandCampina Kievit facility in Lippstadt, Germany, will continue to produce vending products under contract from Callebaut. (Company reports)

    India’s Parag Milk Foods is teaming up with Germany’s Hochland to expand cheese sales in India. Under the terms of the deal, Hochland will export cream cheese to India under the joint Go Almette label, which combines Parag’s Go brand and Hochland’s Almette. Depending on the results, Parag said the two might set up a manufacturing plant in India . . . Russia’s Tkachev Agricultural Complex plans to build a $120 million cheese manufacturing plant near the town of Vyselki in southern Russia’s Krasnodar region. The company plans to begin production of hard and soft cheeses (including emmental and mozzarella) in 2017. (Business Standard, 11/18/15; Moscow Times, 11/12/15)

    DFA buys Fonterra share in DairiConcepts; Fonterra increases cutbacks: Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) paid NZ$196 million (about US$127 million) for Fonterra’s share in their U.S. joint venture DairiConcepts. The New Zealand co-op is in the midst of a restructuring and said it considered DairiConcepts “a non-core component” of its strategy. The deal includes a long-term supply agreement that will see Fonterra remain a key DairiConcepts customer. The companies expect to finalize the sale on Dec. 31, 2015. Also as part of its restructuring, Fonterra increased its number of job cuts to 835 (from the previously announced level of 750). (Company reports; Interest.co.nz, 11/16/15)

    Glanbia opens UHT facility: Glanbia Consumer Foods Ireland opened a new UHT milk plant in Monaghan, Ireland. The facility can process more than 100,000 tons of milk annually, but was built to scale up to double that capacity if demand warrants. Glanbia spent €15 million on the plant and intends to target export markets with the milk, with a focus on China. The company said it “put a lot of R&D” into developing cartons that can withstand heat of up to 50ºC (122ºF). The package and a proprietary processing system can deliver shelf-life three months greater that major competitors, the company claims. (Irish Independent, 11/18/15)

    Glanbia plc paid $217 million for California-based nutrition bar maker thinkThin LLC . . . Nestlé Jamaica divested its locally manufactured dairy business to Musson International Dairies Ltd. The deal includes manufacturing and distribution facilities in Bybrook, Jamaica, and the Supligen and Betty brands . . . Australia’s Freedom Foods Group sold its 18 percent stake in A2 Milk Co. The company said it plans to use the money to build a new UHT processing facility. (Company reports; BusinessDesk, 11/17/15) 

    December-376417-edited

    Interra International Inc. and PS International Ltd., a subsidiary of Seaboard Corp., combined their respective businesses into one company: Interra International LLC . . . Chinese conglomerate Aijiao Group paid $390 million for Chinese dairy processor JuneYao Dairy . . . Britain’s First Milk sold its Glenfield Dairy business in Scotland to Graham’s the Family Dairy. (USDEC China office; Company reports; TheDairySite, 11/27/15)

    Danone is building a €240 million (about US$255 million) manufacturing plant in Cuijk, Netherlands, for its Early Life Nutrition business. The company plans to ship to more than 80 countries once the operation is up and running in late 2017 . . . Saudi Arabian dairy processor Sadafco is installing a second recombined milk products line from Tetra Pak . . . Coca-Cola is reportedly working with India’s Schreiber Dynamix Dairies to roll out a non-carbonated version of its milk-based Vio drink in India. (Company reports; DairyReporter.com, 12/1/15; The Economic Times, 11/30/15)

    Fonterra plans cheese plant, enters Bellamy’s partnership: As part of Fonterra Co-operative Group’s overall effort to diversify product offerings with an eye on value-added items, the co-op announced two new Australian initiatives. Fonterra Australia will invest NZ$141 million (about US$94 million) on a new cheese plant at its manufacturing site in Stanhope, Victoria. The new plant, which replaces a hard cheese facility at Stanhope that was destroyed by fire in 2014, will make 45,000 tons of gouda, mozzarella, parmesan and other varieties per year (15,000 tons more than the previous operation). Fonterra is targeting Australian consumer, foodservice and export markets. Construction begins next year with completion slated for 2017. Fonterra Australia also signed a 5-year partnership agreement with organic infant formula marketer Bellamy’s Australia Ltd. The deal, commencing in 2016, will see Fonterra manufacture Bellamy’s products at its Darnum, Victoria, facility. The Darnum plant is the centerpiece of Fonterra’s joint venture with China’s Beingmate. Bellamy’s already contracts with Bega Cheese to manufacture its products, but demand has been exceeding capacity.(Company reports; Sydney Morning Herald, 12/1/15)

    Ornua opens Nigerian packaging plant: Ireland’s Ornua opened a new milk powder packaging facility in Lagos, Nigeria. The operation, a joint venture with local Fareast Mercantile, will take exported powder from Ireland and package it in sachets, packets and tins under the Kerrygold brand for African sales. CEO Kevin Lane called the facility “another important step in our growth plans for Africa.” In a speech during the official opening ceremony, Irish Ag Minister Simon Coveney noted that “world dairy consumption is projected to rise considerably over the next 10 years and much of this will be driven by Africa and countries like Nigeria with strong population increases forecasted.” Irish dairy exports to Nigeria were worth more than €140 million in 2014 (about US$148 million), Coveney said, making the country a bigger market for Irish milk products than the United States. (Irish Ministry for Agriculture, Food and the marine; Irish Examiner, 12/2/15; The Journal, 12/2/15)

    Dairy Fonterra plans to market 10,000 tons per year of galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) manufactured by Dairy Crest at its revamped Davidstow, UK, facility. Fonterra will sell the product under its NZMP brand . . . Beston Pure Foods officially opened the dairy processing plants it purchased from United Dairy Power in Murray Bridge and Jervois, South Australia, and shipped its first load of 220 tons of cheese to Asia . . . China’s Siping Junlebao Dairyis building a dairy plant in northern China to manufacture yogurt and milk-based beverages . . . Burger King will open its first restaurant in West Africa under a franchise agreement with Servair, Air France-KLM’s in-flight caterer that is looking to expand beyond airports. The store will debut in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Servair says it plans to add more West African units over the next few years. (Company reports; Farm Weekly, 12/8/15; Food Business Review, 12/1/15; Bloomberg, 12/1/15)

    Leão Alimentos e Bebidas, the 50/50 partnership between Coca-Cola and its Brazilian bottlers, acquired Brazilian dairy processor Laticínios Verde Campo. The deal marks Coca-Cola’s first dairy venture in Brazil.(FoodBev.com, 12/9/15)

    Arla expects surge in milk as new growth strategy focuses on six markets: Arla Foods new corporate strategy, Good Growth 2020, focuses the co-op’s dairy efforts on six target markets and eight product categories—“categories where we feel Arla can grow a leading position globally or regionally,” CEO Peter Tuborgh said. The six target markets are: Europe, the Middle East, China, Russia, Nigeria and the United States. The company was quick to point out that the narrowed focus does not mean it is abandoning other markets in which it operates. The co-op forecasts its members will expand milk output by 2.5 million tons by 2020, putting its annual milk production at 16.5 million tons. To read more on Good Growth 2020, see the Arla news release or watch Arla’s video about its new strategy. (Company reports)

    More Australian fresh milk bound for China soon: Australian carbon abatement expert Carbon Conscious is entering the dairy farming business to supply fluid milk to Western Australia-based Green Lake. Green Lake operates a retail/distribution network in China and is planning to open 300 Capel Farm grocery stores in China specializing in Australian foods and beverages. It currently sells Australian fresh fluid milk manufactured under contract by Australia’s Brownes Foods under theBrownes label (and air-shipped to China), but is looking to expand its supplier network to meet rising Chinese demand. To better reflect its broadening agricultural interests, Carbon Conscious changed its name to Alterra. The company will initially sell its milk to Brownes but eventually plans to process milk itself under its own label. Australian fresh milk sells in China at A$8-$10/liter (about US$22-$27/gallon). (Queensland Country Life, 12/10/15; The West Australian, 12/10/15, 12/9/15)

    Dairy Farmers of America reportedly agreed to purchase Müller Quaker Dairy’s Batavia, N.Y., yogurt plant. Joint venture partners Theo Müller Group and PepsiCo announced last week that they were shuttering the 2-year-old facility . . . After investing C$470 million in Canadian dairy co-op Agropur last year, the same group of Quebec institutional investors and bankers provided another C$300 million of long-term capital to the business this week . . . Fonterra launched consumer retail packs of its Anchor brand butter in Egypt through a partnership with local food company Sakr Group. The butter is manufactured in New Zealand. Sakr has been Fonterra’s bulk butter distributor for more than 20 years . . . Dubai-based Capital Group plans to open 50-75 Jamaica Blue cafes in the UAE over the next three years. Jamaica Blue is owned by Australia franchise business Foodco. (USDEC Middle East office; Company reports; Democrat & Chronicle, 12/10/15)

    Fonterra sold its Australian yogurt and dairy dessert business to Parmalat Australia. The deal includes manufacturing sites at Tamar Valley, Tasmania, and Echuca, Victoria. To view the Fonterra release on the deal, click here . . . Ornua sold an 80 percent stake in U.S. specialty food distributor DPI Specialty Foods to Chicago-based Arbor Investments. Ornua said it would use the proceeds to invest in its core Irish dairy business . . .Kahala Brands, owner of the Cold Stone Creamery chain, acquired frozen yogurt retailer Pinkberry . . . China’s New Hope Dairy acquired Suzhou Shuangxi Dairy in a deal that will broaden New Hope’s presence in the Yangtze River Delta region . . . Egypt’s Qalaa Holdings sold a shuttered Egyptian cheese plant, Misr October for Food Industries, to Egyptian food and beverage investment firm Hagag Group. (USDEC China office; Company reports; DairyReporter.com, 12/16/15; The Irish Times, 12/15/15; CNBC, 12/14/15)

    The New Zealand businessman accused of threatening to poison Fonterra Co-operative Group infant formula with a pesticide known as 1080 (see Global Dairy eBrief, 10/16/15) pleaded guilty to two charges of blackmail . . . Ukrainian dairy, meat and agricultural firm Terra Food Group plans to build a milk powder, butter and cream plant in Turkey . . . Singapore-based agri-food firm Japfa is halting further investment in Chinese dairy farming due to “changes in the business environment.” The company spent $47 million of a planned $90 million project. Japfa did not specify whether the cutback affects a joint venture Chinese milk processing facility it pledged to build with Latvian dairy Food Union. (Interfax-Ukraine, 12/21/15; New Zealand Herald, 12/17/15; Business Times, 12/2/15)

    Britain’s Dairy Crest acquired the remaining 50 percent of its Promovita Ingredients joint venture from its partner Fayrefield Foods. Promovita makes galacto-oligosaccharide . . . Almarai is reportedly one of the suitors interested in buying a majority stake in UAE food and dairy manufacturer National Food Products Co. (see Global Dairy eBrief, 11/5/15) . . . Indian animal feed company Godrej Agrovert stepped further into dairy processing by acquiring a 25 percent stake in Creamline Dairy for $22 million. Godrej now holds a majority 51 percent share of the Hyderabad-based Creamline. (DairyReporter.com, 12/21/15; Economic Times, 12/21/15; Reuters, 12/14/15)

    General Mills acquires Brazilian yogurt maker: General Mills purchased Brazilian yogurt maker Carolina Administracao e Participacoes Societarias, based in Ribeirao Claro in the state of Parana. Click here for the General Mills press release for more details. (Company news)

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