Australia’s largest and oldest dairy has been sold to Chinese interests

Getty / Scott Olsen

The Van Diemen’s Land Company (VDL), is one of Australia’s oldest companies and also one of the nation’s largest dairies running 25 farms in Tasmania’s north-west region.

For many years it has been controlled by the New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) based in New Zealand’s North Island near Taranaki.

But The Australian reports this morning that control of the company is about to change hands to Chinese interests with companies associated with Herman Shao-ming Hu and Kenny Zhang buying 35% each from NPDC for $220 million.

The other 30% is being purchased by “the Lempriere Capital equity managers, linked to the Melbourne-based Lemp­riere family, noted wool traders”.

The VDL was formed in 1825 by Royal Charter and sits on 19,000ha of land in north-western Tasmaina. The new owners are believed to be looking to leverage the unique location and clean credentials of VDL’s farms.

The deal also looks set to both benefit from the upcoming vote in Federal Parliament on the China Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) and the burgeoning demand from the growing Chinese middle class for dairy products.

The Australian says that even though neither Hong Kong-based Hu or mainland China-based Zhang have any previous agricultural interests but they do have access “to distribution and marketing channels in China and Hong Kong, where any food and farm products they produce in Australia can be sold directly”.

You can read more here.