Bega completes Lion acquisition

Bega completes Lion acquisition, doubling the size of the company


Bega Cheese has finalised the acquisition of the Lion Dairy & Drinks business.


Bega Cheese has finalised the acquisition of the Lion Dairy & Drinks business.

The company's executive chairman Barry Irvin said on Monday it was a significant day for the company.

"The acquisition of Lion Dairy & Drinks doubles the size of the company with revenue of $3 billion and brings together great brands including Bega Cheese, Vegemite, Dare, Farmers Union, Dairy Farmers, Yoplait, B honey, Big M, Masters, Juice Brothers and Berri," he said.

"This goal of creating a great Australian food company with the capacity to service our customers in Australia and around the world took a major step forward today."

The $534 million deal sees the milk processing business grow from four to 15 dairy factories, plus two juice plants, and joint venture ownership of one of Australia's big name plant "milk" facilities.

Bega was able to seal the deal in November after previous bidder Chinese firm Mengniu Dairy Company withdrew its offer in August following comments by Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

Mr Frydenberg told the Chinese company the foreign investment would be "contrary to the national interest".

Bega's price was almost $70 million less than Mengniu was going to pay.

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Lion had dairy plants in North Queensland and Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Melbourne and Morwell in Victoria, and Penrith and Wetherill Park in outer Sydney.

It was also the majority partner in a joint venture with Bega - Canberra's Capitol Chilled Foods - and had a half share with Hong Kong partner Vitasoy International in the Vitasoy plant-based beverage facility in Wodonga on the NSW-Victorian border.

On the fruit juice front, Lion owned the Berri, Daily Juice and Juice Brothers brands, processed at Leeton in southern NSW and Smithfield in Sydney where Zooper Dooper freezable flavoured ice blocks are also made.

Before the acquisition, Bega owned five dairy factories on the NSW South Coast and in Victoria at Tatura, Strathmerton and Koroit, plus its Port Melbourne spreads and sauces plant.

The Peanut Company of Australia division, bought in 2017-18 to supply its peanut butter needs, has processing operations in southern Queensland at Kingaroy and Tolga on the Atherton Tableland.

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