THE listed Freedom Foods Group and its controlling shareholder the Perich Group have struck a landmark deal with China’s New Hope Group that will see tens of millions of dollars invested in Australian dairy farms.
Under a memorandum of understanding signed in Canberra yesterday evening, the parties will cooperate exclusively to develop and implement growth in long-term dairy milk supply through establishment of new large scale intensive dairy farms in Victoria.
The farms will supply Freedom Foods Group’s UHT operations and other potential processing operations in Australia including fresh milk.
New Hope has established an investment fund of up to $500 million to be invested in Australian agriculture and part of these funds, along with funds from the Perich family, will be invested in the new dairy capacity.
The management of future farm operations will be undertaken by the Perich Group, through a separate farm management services agreement.
The Perich Group, which is run by billionaires Tony and Ron Perich, runs one of the nation’s biggest dairies west of Sydney.
The family has a 60 per cent stake in Freedom Foods.
Managing director of Freedom Foods Mr Rory Macleod said in a statement today: “Australia has a unique advantage in the supply and manufacture of high quality premium agriculture based foods.
“With increasing demand from markets in China and Southeast Asia for high quality, value added product, Australia, through companies such as Freedom Foods and Perich Group, are well placed to play an important role in the development of this important supply chain.”
By Damon Kitney