Bright Food eyes new segments as it does due diligence on European buy
The state-owned company, which is in the midst of a drive to globalise, picked up a controlling interest in Kiwi dairy major Synlait in 2010, acquired 75% of Australian food producer Manassen Foods the following year, and then followed this up with a 60% purchase in British cereals company Weetabix. Last year, it paid US$2.5bn for a 56% stake in Israeli dairy producer Tnuva.
High profile target
Bright is currently doing due diligence on an big-target acquisition in Europe that would provide a platform to bring western-quality food to China while promoting its own products worldwide. This period of vetting is expected to be completed by July or August, by which time the deal could go ahead.
Speaking to the South China Morning Post, Bright vice-president Ge Junjie revealed he believed now was the time to change tack.
"Buying just foreign processors of candy, biscuits and chocolate is no longer in line with Bright Food's long-term strategy now that we have owned companies like Manassen," Ge said.
"We are now strengthening efforts to create a synergy between our domestic businesses and overseas assets.”
Aims to be a food giant
The executive, who is also a delegate to the National People's Congress, said that a weak euro, soaring Chinese demand for imported food and and growing awareness among international businesses of the potential of the Chinese market were driving the pace of Bright’s global strategy.
"Bright Food aims to be a multinational food giant," Ge said. "We are not just splashing out massive amounts of funds to acquire all kinds of foreign food businesses. We hope to bring in capable managers and good management styles to enhance our governance.”
Overseas units made up just over 10% of the firm's business last year, and are targeted to reach 25% within five years.