Tony Girgis, managing director of Brownes Dairy, said that Archer Capital Pty Ltd, which had purchased Brownes in 2011, had sold the dairy company to Australia Zhiran Co Pty Ltd — an investment vehicle backed by a consortium that includes Changchun Lianxin Investment Consulting Company and Shanghai Ground Food Tech.
Apart from milk production, Shanghai Ground Food Tech is one of China’s largest cheese manufacturers. It is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
“Integral to the final outcome was finding a buyer with proven industry experience and a record of operating and growing similar businesses,” said Jeffrey Lim, partner of Archer Capital.
"We believe we have found that buyer and look forward to Brownes taking full advantage of the opportunities ahead,” he said.
Girgis said the deal creates access for Brownes to emerging export markets, especially in Asia, as well as widens the potential for the company to develop new product lines.
Nonetheless, Lim said the deal was reached largely due to Brownes’ strong market position in Western Australia, its brand recognition — being a 130-year-old business — and its reputation for producing the highest quality, locally-sourced dairy products.
The company will still go ahead with plans to advance domestic growth: the consortium expects Brownes to remain the premier supplier of dairy to Western Australian customers.
“Not only will we seek to expand into new products such as cheese, but we will also be better positioned to take advantage of export opportunities and promote the Western Australian dairy industry to a much wider audience,” said Girgis.
According to Girgis, Brownes Dairy will retain its current management, including himself.
Brownes is Western Australia's leading producer of dairy products including white and flavoured milk, yoghurt, creams, custards, dairy desserts, juices and cheese. Brownes is also the largest buyer of farm gate milk in Western Australia, collecting and processing approximately 40% of the state's milk production.
The financial details were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.