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Dairy farmers the winners in Bega expansion

Rural News

Dairy farmers are expected to win out, as some iconic brands return to Australian ownership.

In January, Bega Cheese will complete the $534 million acquisition of Lion Dairy & Drinks.

Big M, Farmers Union, and Yoplait are among the brands joining Vegemite.

Bega Cheese Executive Chairman Barry Irvin told Rural Editor Eddie Summerfield it’ll expand the company’s dairy footprint from 955 million litres annually, to 1.7 billion.

“Except for the Northern Territory we end up with a dairy plant in every state, and multiple dairy plants in some states,” Mr Irvin said.

It’s forecast the expanded company will have $3 billion a year in revenue, not bad for a company that started as a dairy farmers co-operative on the New South Wales South Coast in 1899.

“It’s really nice to have an Australian company that has similar strengths to the international competitors that are in this market,” Mr Irvin said.

The deal is just months after China’s Mengniu Dairy $600 million proposed purchase of Lion Dairy & Drinks, but that was deemed “contrary to the national interest” by the Federal Government.

Bega Cheese is confident it’s paid the right price.

“I’m certainly happy with the deal, I never promote I get absolutely great deals, but I think it’s a very good deal, in terms with how it fits with Bega,” Mr Irvin said.

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Rural News