Fonterra and Abbott announce proposed dairy farm hub in China 

Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd and Abbott have announced the signing of an agreement to develop a proposed dairy farm hub in China. The strategic alliance, which is subject to Chinese regulatory approval, will leverage Fonterra’s expertise in dairy nutrition and farming in China and Abbott’s continued commitment to business development in China.

According to Fonterra, the continued development of safe, high-quality milk sources is essential to meeting this growing demand from Chinese consumers.

“This would be Fonterra’s third farm hub in China and will complement our existing farming operations in Shanxi and Hebei Provinces that have been very successful,” said Fonterra chief executive, Theo Spierings. “Farming hubs are a key part of our strategy to be a more integrated dairy business in Greater China, contribute to the growth and development of the local Chinese dairy industry and help meet local consumers’ needs for safe, nutritious dairy products.”

Both companies will work with Chinese regulators to obtain necessary approvals through the course of the project’s development.

If approved, Fonterra and Abbott will form a joint venture to invest a combined US$300 million (NZ$342 million or 1.8 billion RMB) into the farm hub, which will contain up to five dairy farms and more than 16,000 dairy milking cattle in production, producing up to 160 million litres of milk annually. The herd for this hub will comprise animals either imported, or sourced from Fonterra’s existing farm hubs. All dairy cattle will have genetics traceable to New Zealand, Australia, USA or Europe.

Pending regulatory approval, the first farm is expected to be completed and producing milk in the first half of 2017 and the remaining farms will commence production in 2018.

Fonterra and Abbott have a long history in China and have each made substantial commercial and social investments in the country.

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