Speaking at an event to announce finalization of the transaction at Auckland Museum, Yili Group CEO Jianqiu Zhang said the acquisition is a significant breakthrough in Yili’s global expansion.
Zhang said the purchase follows Yili chairman Pan Gang’s concept of constructing a ‘healthy global ecosystem’ in the construction of ‘Yili’s Dairy Silk Road.’
“In this regard, the acquisition can be seen as a vast dairy bridge crossing the Pacific Ocean, helping the world to share health,’’ Zhang said.
Yili’s acquisition of Westland was also announced to the Shanghai Stock Exchange earlier today.
Shareholder farmers in the former coop have received a cash payment of NZ$3.41 (US$2.24) per share, a 10-year guaranteed competitive milk payout, and guarantees all milk will be collected.
Zhang said New Zealand’s strong dairying tradition, high-quality raw milk and well-regulated industry alongside Yili’s access to global resources and markets would strengthen the ties between Asia and the Oceania region.
“We intend to use our global assets of innovation, excellence and quality to create a Dairy Silk Road, linking our two regions on a trade journey that will benefit us all,’’ Zhang said.
“In 2013, we made our first investment in New Zealand in the Oceania Dairy production facility where we have invested $NZ660m (US$433m). With Westland now among the Yili group of companies, Yili can provide the world with even more of the incredibly pure product loved and trusted by consumers around the globe.
“At Westland, we intend to build on the proud heritage of an innovative dairy that, like Yili, has recognised that unique, value-added products are critical to success in today’s export market. We will continue to stick to this principle of ‘Mutual Benefit and Win-win Co-operation’ with the incorporation of Westland to provide the world with more diversified and better-quality products.’’
Zhang said Yili had committed to paying competitive farm gate prices at Oceania and now Westland to ensure a continual supply to meet rising global demand for its products.
“Our global vision is to build healthy lives by being the world’s most trusted health-food provider,’’ Zhang said.
“But we also want to contribute to healthy environments for people to live in as well.”
Zhang said Yili had been humbled by the farmer shareholders’ show of faith in accepting the company’s offer.
“We take this show of faith very seriously and as the new custodians of one of New Zealand’s most trusted brands, we will continue to build on their proud heritage,’’ Zhang said.
“We are confident our investment here will bring new life to Westland and create better opportunities not only for our employees, the dairy farmers of New Zealand and the Westland community, but for the global dairy industry and New Zealand as well.’’