Danone has been cleared by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) to take an indirect shareholding of up to 65% in Yashili New Zealand.
It is part of $85m spent by the global infant formula company in New Zealand in the past four years. This cements NZ as a critical, strategic supply point for local and regional markets, the company says.
Cyril Marniquet, NZ operations director, says NZ has a strong reputation for high quality milk and efficient production.
“We’re proud to be a growing part of the NZ dairy story through our high-quality international brands and expertise in early life nutrition,” he says.
“Australia remains our number-one export destination, but we’re seeing growing demand for our international products in other markets, including China.
“By doubling production capacity we’re better placed than ever to meet demand in key markets. Today we have end-to-end processing capability, with 450 people working in our NZ processing operations, up from 300 in 2014.”
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says NZ’s ability to sustainably produce high-quality, nutritious food for a growing global population is crucial to our economic future.
“That means moving NZ’s primary sector higher up the value chain so we continue to deliver what international consumers demand,” he says.
“But we must do so in way that is sustainable and leverages our competitive edge as quality food producers. Danone Early Life Nutrition’s investment here shows it shares the same vision for NZ.”
To support its export growth, Danone has innovated and gained critical certifications.
Marniquet says innovation will include the latest global advances and product innovation via their NZ business.
“Our local experts form an integral part of Danone’s Nutricia 400-plus scientists and technologists worldwide.” Their work meets the specific needs of children during their first 1000 days – from pregnancy to two years of age.
“We have approval from the Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People’s Republic of China to manufacture and export direct to China from the Auckland plant. We’ve also been granted a Halal licence by the New Zealand Islamic Development Trust.
“Both certifications recognise our stringent processes in food safety, quality, hygiene and manufacturing. They open up exciting trade opportunities.”
Danone in 2014 bought its Balclutha spray dryer and Airport Oaks (Auckland) blending, packing and canning plants.