Danone has been cleared by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) to take an indirect shareholding of up to 65% in Yashili New Zealand.
Its subsidiary Danone Nutricia NZ is spending $25 million on a blending and packing 'mega facility' at its Airport Oaks plant in Auckland.
"The $25 million expansion of the Airport Oaks facility signifies the growing importance of our NZ operation as an important supply point for the domestic and Asia Pacific markets, and the growing demand for early life nutrition products in key markets," says Cyril Marniquet, NZ operations director for Danone Early Life Nutrition.
The Airport Oaks facility will include a new gravity blending tower and canning lines, in line with Danone Nutricia's world-class quality standards. It will also include an innovation centre to launch new products and packaging for the Asia Pacific region.
The Airport Oaks site investment also allows Danone Nutricia to employ more people as it prepares to meet the growing global demand for early life nutrition products; it employs 400 people in NZ.
The Airport Oaks site will continue to make Aptamil, Karicare and Cow & Gate ranges for domestic and international markets.
In NZ the company
has 60% share of the category.
The original NZ brand Karicare has a leading 46.6% share of all category sales in this market, growing year on year. Karicare and Aptamil are key brands for the Australian business, also growing share and sales in that market.
Danone has been expanding in NZ; in 2014 it acquired the Suttons and Guardians companies. This added a nutritional spray drying facility in the South Island and blending and packing facilities in Auckland.