ABS | 12 Sep 2013
Big dairy farm expected to change hands
The potential sale to Chinese and New Zealand investors would trigger an assessment by the board.
It has been reported that the state-owned China Investment Corporation and New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra are negotiating to buy VDL under a proposed $200 million deal.
It is believed the giant sovereign wealth fund would buy a 49 per cent stake and Fonterra the rest.
The sale would need to be assessed by the Foreign Investment Review Board because it involves a state-owned company.
Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings, who is on an Asian trade mission, says she is not worried about the board potentially blocking the sale.
She says she is confident the board will consider the plan's merits.
"I believe that in the end, people will look at these individual cases one on one and make the right decision for the state, for the company involved, for the investment that Australia requires," she said.
Last year, VDL announced a $180 million plan to expand its Woolnorth property in the state's north-west.
The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association's Jan Davis says the state's farmers could not survive without foreign investment.
"We're certainly working very hard to ensure that politicians of all colours understand the importance of investment in agriculture and we need to ensure that those funds are available," she said.
"If they're not going to come from people who are local, then we need to access funds from foreign investors.
"We just want to see investment in our industry that enables us to continue to grow and expand."
Ms Davis says the VDL company is an industry leader.
"The model they're using with dairy farming share-farming is working very well, so well in fact that other farmers are now moving to that share farming model."
"VDL have a plan to continue to bring more share farmers onto the very large share farming properties they have in north-west Tasmania and that's a key plank of expansion for our industry."
VDL would not comment on the potential sale.