Asia’s richest woman to make next billion from Chinese babies

Gina Rinehartplanning a €350 million investment to supply infant formula to China

The investment positions Gina Rinehart, the richest woman in Asia, to compete in an infant formula market in China forecast to swell after the world’s most populous nation loosened its one-child policy last year. (Photograph: Ron D’Raine/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The investment positions Gina Rinehart, the richest woman in Asia, to compete in an infant formula market in China forecast to swell after the world’s most populous nation loosened its one-child policy last year. (Photograph: Ron D’Raine/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

 

Gina Rinehart, the Australian billionaire who built her fortune on iron ore, is planning a A$500 million (€350 million) investment to supply infant formula to a Chinese market forecast to almost double over three years.

Hope Dairies, controlled by Rinehart’s closely held Hancock Prospecting, is seeking to acquire about 5,000 hectares (12,400 acres) of farmland in Queensland state and is targeting first production in the second half of 2016, according to co-investor and director Dave Garcia.

The move comes as Australian miners including Fortescue Metals Group’s founder expand into food production to tap rising demand from Asia’s middle classes. It positions Rinehart, the richest woman in Asia, to compete in an infant formula market in China forecast to swell after the world’s most populous nation loosened its one-child policy last year.

“There’s another 50 million mouths probably coming online,” Garcia said. “There’s room for everyone in this right now.”

Hope Dairies, named after Rinehart’s mother, is seeking pasture in Queensland’s South Burnett region and a processing facility in Mary Valley. The dairy farm, which is planned to be among Australia’s biggest, may produce as much as 30,000 metric tons of formula a year, Garcia said by phone from Hong Kong. The facility will also supply UHT milk. All the output is intended to be exported to China and the company will have investment partners including a Chinese entity, Jason Morrison, a spokesman for Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting, said today in a Bloomberg Television interview.

Morrison, who said Hope Dairies will be 70-per cent owned by Rinehart, declined to name the Chinese partner ahead of an official announcement scheduled tomorrow.

Bloomberg