Brownes Dairy has changed ownership, with private equity firm Archer Capital selling Western Australia’s oldest dairy to a group of Chinese companies led by Shanghai Ground Food Tech Company.
Shanghai Ground Food Tech was known as Shandong Hualian Mining Holdings Co until last year.
Founded in 1988 in Changchun, the capital city of Jilin Province, Shandong Hualian was initially involved in mining development and the sale of fine iron power for use in steelmaking.
Today, Shanghai Ground Food has four cheese and milk processing plants in Shanghai, Changchun, Tiangin and Jilin, with a total capacity of around 400,000 tons, allowing the company to lay claim to the title of China's biggest domestic dairy processor.
The company’s dairy cows are all imported from Australia, with its milk quality reaching EU standards.
Alongside Shanghai Ground Food, private investment company Changchun Lianxin Investment Consulting is involved in the acquiring consortium, which is known as Australian Zhiran Co.
Brownes chief executive Tony Girgis said Shanghai Ground Food Tech would retain the WA dairy’s existing management team to maintain the business.
A purchase price was not disclosed. Archer Capital acquired Brownes in 2011, while it put the dairy on the market initially midway through 2015.
Brownes purchases and processes around 144 megalitres of raw milk each year, equivalent to around 37 per cent of WA’s production.
Its main processing plant is located in Balcatta, with 255 workers employed at the facility. The dairy celebrated 130 years of operation in 2016.