China's largest dairy company, Yili Group, recently signed a conditional agreement with Westland Milk, New Zealand's second-biggest dairy producer, to purchase 100% of shares held in Westland Milk from the company's shareholders and take over its operations.
Zhang Jianqiu, executive president of Yili Group, said the offer would immediately return cash to farmer shareholders and added that the price the company paid was competitive.
Through the deal, Yili will be able to combine its own expertise and experience with that of Westland, leading to efficiency savings and improved quality, Zhang said.
Yili entered the New Zealand market in 2014 and invested 3 billion yuan ($44.68 million) to build a number of production plants.
The latest move is part of a major effort by Yili to expand its presence in Oceania and shore up its position as one of the leading dairy firms in Asia, the company said.
Westland Milk has been operating for 80-plus years and sells its products in more than 40 countries across the world.
Yili Group posted a record 16.89% year-on-year increase in revenues, according to the company's recently released annual report.
Yili said its revenues hit nearly 80 billion yuan ($11.97 billion) in 2018, with a net profit of 6.45 billion yuan, consolidating the firm's position as the top dairy firm in Asia.
According to Yili, it has 11 brands with annual sales revenues of more than 1 billion yuan, and the annual revenues of its Ambrosial yogurt, pure milk and Satine organic milk have surpassed 10 billion yuan.