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30 November, 2020

Dairy Farmers back in Australian hands.

Bega Cheese has bought Lion Dairy and Drinks in a $534 million deal that will see it become the new owner of brands such as Farmers Union, Yoplait and Dairy Farmers.

By Phil Brandel

Millaa Millaa farmer James Geraghty said the Bega Cheese purchase is great news for dairy farmers on the Tablelands.

Dairy farmers back in Australian hands.

Bega Cheese has bought Lion Dairy and Drinks in a $534 million deal that will see it become the new owner of brands such as Farmers Union, Yoplait and Dairy Farmers.

The deal comes after the owner of Lion Dairy and Drinks, Japan’s Kirin Holdings tried to offload its Australian Dairy and Drinks operation in a $600 million deal with China's Mengniu Dairy last year. The deal was blocked by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg earlier this year, claiming it was not in the nation’s best interest.

Other brands included in the sale include Pura and Masters Milk, Daily Juice, Big M flavoured milk and Dare iced coffee. Bega Cheese's executive chairman Barry Irvin said the deal will give Bega enormous access to cold refrigerators in service stations and convenience stores around the country.

"We are delighted to announce this acquisition which we believe will create significant value for shareholders," said Mr Irvin.

Dairy Farmers Director and Millaa Millaa farmer James Geraghty said the purchase was great news for Dairy farmers on the Tablelands.

“We now have some direction in which we are going to travel, we go from a Japanese brewing company to an Australian Milk processor,” Mr Geraghty said.

“Until they come up and we can have a discussion with them, we’re not sure what’s happening but we are hoping they intended to increase production up here.

“Even though Bega is a milk processor, they haven’t sold liquid Milk but now Bega owns processing plants in every state in Australia.

“We are also hoping that they are willing to pay the farmer higher milk prices.”

Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter congratulated Bega for its purchase of Lion’s dairy and drinks business, claiming the sale was a ‘huge win for Australia’.

“Today is a great day for Australia,” he said.

 “It is the duty of every Australian to buy Bega cheese from now on.

“This is extremely good news and we would see this as an opportunity to get a much better deal out of the giant supermarket chains who literally have sold cheap milk over the dead bodies of Australian dairy farmers, their job farmers, contractors and associated businesses.

“So with this sale, they will be getting a bit of their own medicine back.”


 


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