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Fonterra sells stakes in two Chinese farms

Fonterra Co-Operative Group said today it will sell its stakes in two joint-venture farms in China’s Shandong province to Singapore-based AustAsia Investment Holdings for NZ$88 million (US$62 million).

The sale comes amid a retreat by the world’s largest dairy exporter since 2019 from an ill-fated overseas expansion that drew sharp criticism from its 10,000-plus farmer-shareholders.

Fonterra, which owns 51 per cent of the two farms, said the sale is not subject to any regulatory approvals and is unconditional.

AustAsia, 75 per cent owned by Singaporean agri-food company Japfa, will buy the farms outright for US$115.5 million, with the difference being paid to Fonterra’s joint venture partner, the New Zealand co-operative said.

“Greater China continues to be one of our most important strategic markets. We remain committed to our China business,” CEO Miles Hurrell said in a statement.

The dairy giant in April sold two fully owned farms in China to Inner Mongolia Youran Dairy for NZ$552 million.

  • Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill and Christopher Cushing, of Reuters.

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