Asia Briefing: Future could be Bright for Irish food companies as Shanghai takes an interest

Speculation that Shanghai government-owned food company is on a shopping trip in Ireland

In demand: Rising incomes in China are driving demand for consumer goods, and food is very high on people’s shopping list

In demand: Rising incomes in China are driving demand for consumer goods, and food is very high on people’s shopping list

Tue, Mar 4, 2014, 01:00

Speaking of acquisitions, there has been a lot of speculation that the Shanghai government-backed dairy and consumer products company, Bright Food Group is travelling in Europe looking for acquisition targets, and that their shopping list might include Irish food company Glanbia.

Contacted by Asia Briefing , Bright Food spokesman Pan Jianjun denied that the group is in Ireland on a buying trip, but the company is known to be in a hungry mood.

Rising incomes in China are driving demand for consumer goods, and food is high on people’s shopping list. Bright Food, whose domestic brands include White Rabbit candy and which is China’s third-largest dairy producer, bought a 60 per cent stake in 2012 in Weetabix for €870 million. It also owns a majority stake in the French wine merchant Diva Bordeaux and is currently negotiating the purchase of the Israeli dairy company, Tnuva Food Industries. Its Australian unit, Manassen Foods, is also said to be buying Mundella Foods near Perth,

The Financial Times reported that Bright Food is in London, Dublin, Brussels and Barcelona on the acquisition trail.

An Irish food processor would be a good fit and Ireland’s reputation in this industry is strong. Ireland is also in the euro zone, and is English-speaking.

China is set to be an increasingly important market for Irish dairy processors as milk quotas come to an end, and Glanbia and Kerry have both been very busy there.

In May last year, Glanbia signed an MOU with Bright Food to introduce and continue to develop Glanbia’s ingredient and consumer products in the country. Glanbia currently employs 76 people in China.

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