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Asian investors plough $106m into ambitious Chinese dairy Huaxia

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By Mark Astley+

03-Jul-2014
Last updated the 03-Jul-2014 at 15:57 GMT

A coalition of Asian investors is ploughing US$106m (€77.7m) in to Huaxia Dairy Farm to fund an expansion of the Chinese company's farming and processing operations.

The investment, stumped up by GIC, Olympus Capital Asia, and Grand River Capital, will enable Huaxia Dairy Farms to expand its farming operations, update farm management technology, and add to its herd.

Huaxia, established just 10 years ago, will also seek to expand its Wondermilk brand dairy range, which currently includes a variety of milks, yogurts, and dairy desserts.

GIC, a subsidiary of the Singapore government that manages the country's foreign reserves, has invested US$70m (€51.3m) in exchange for an undisclosed shareholding.

Private equity firm Olympus Capital Asia, now Huaxia's largest shareholder, and Grand River Capital made up the difference - contributing US$30m (€22m) and US$6m (€4.4m) respectively to the fund.

Charles Shao, founder and chairman, Huaxia Dairy, welcomed the investment.

“This financing marks another key milestone for Huaxia Dairy and will provide the capital to support our growth plans. We appreciate the continued support and partnership with Olympus Capital Asia and welcome GIC as a new investor,” said Shao.

Mirroring Shao, Peter Cimmet, managing director, Olympus Capital Asia, and a Huaxia board member, said: “GIC supports the company’s strategy to become the leading premium player in the China dairy market and is an ideal partner to help drive the further expansion of the company."

Huaxia currently operates three dairy farms near Beijing and already boasts a herd of more than 13,500.

A proportion of the milk produced on the three farms is processed by Huaxia and marketed under the Wondermilk brand. The rest is sold raw to rival Chinese dairy manufacturers.

With demand for raw milk in the country on the up, Huaxia is in the process of constructing a new farm in Xinghua, around 900km from its existing farms near Beijing.

Its proximity will, the investors claim, allow Huaxia to serve both Beijing and Shanghai.

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