Japanese giant Mitsubishi says it new agreement to acquire a controlling 24% stake in Australia-based Tasmanian Dairy Products will help it expand its dairy manufacturing business and serve the Japanese market.
Australian dairy co-operative Murray Goulburn sold the stake to Mitsubishi, but will remain the majority shareholder of Tasmanian Dairy Products with a 56.1% stake; local Tasmanian investors will hold 19.9% of shares.
Murray Goulburn MD Gary Helou said the co-operative had worked closely in the past with Mitsubishi as a dairy ingredients customer and investment partner in several manufacturing JVs.
He said: "Tasmanian dairy farmers have already shown tremendous support for the new venture including many in the northwest of the state that have committed to supplying the new company."
As a new AUS $75m (€60m) JV, Tasmanian Dairy Products' plant is expected to start production this September and will supply dairy products to Asia and the Middle East, with a 250m litre per year milk processing capacity.
Outputs from the plant - situated in Smithton, northwest Tasmania - will include whole milk powder, skimmed milk powder and anhydrous milk fat, and the facility will be supplied by local farmers.
Mitsubishi (better known on a group level for its cars and electronics) said the deal would help it strengthen its supply chain, expand its dairy manufacturing business, and supply products to Asian markets including Japan.