New Zealand commodity prices are likely to feel downward pressure over the year, says ASB senior rural economist Nathan Penny.
The $200 million facility at Pokeno is owned by Yashili, a leading infant formula and soymilk products company in China.
Operations manager Terry Norwood told Rural News the new plant will have the capacity to produce 50,000 tonnes of infant formula annually; all products will be exported to China.
Norwood says it will use milk and milk powder to make premium infant formula for export; about 100 people will be employed. “It will be a huge economic boost for Pokeno and the whole of New Zealand.”
Yashili is majority owned by China Mengniu Dairy, one of China’s largest dairy companies.
Recently a unit of French food giant Danone bought a 25% stake in Yashili International for $730 million; under the deal, Mengniu’s stake in Yashili will drop to 51.04% from 68.05%.
According to the Yashili NZ website, it has been a longstanding importer of New Zealand milk powder.
“Now we are taking that one step further. We are not just sourcing our milk powder here, we are producing our finished goods here. Our $200 million investment in Pokeno focuses on [building] a 30,000m2 manufacturing plant.”
The company says China’s infant formula market is expected to grow to $32 billion by 2017.
“That’s why we have looked to New Zealand and its internationally recognised expertise in the manufacture of quality milk powder to build our newest dairy processing.
“Yashili already promotes the high quality of New Zealand-sourced milk content in our premium brands. We have imported milk powder from New Zealand for over 10 years and we have used New Zealand milk powder exclusively in our infant milk formula since August 2010.”
Yashili says it’s one of the “big three” producers of infant milk formula for the domestic market in China.
The company’s products are sold in 105,000 retail outlets in China.