Tag Archives: foreign

Broad support for foreign VDL buyer but senator flags food security concern

Posted November 27, 2015 18:48:28

The sale of Australia’s largest and oldest dairy farming outfit to a privately owned Chinese company has been welcomed by local and national players amid warnings over Australia’s future food security.

The Van Diemen’s Land Company (VDL) has always been foreign owned and it has been revealed it will remain so, with privately owned Chinese company Moon Lake Investments (MLI) pipping competing Australian company Tasfoods Limited (TFL) at the post.

MLI, an Australian company set up specifically for the purchase by Chinese businessman Lu Xianfeng offered $ 280 million to current owners, New Zealand’s New Plymouth District Council, plus a non-refundable $ 20 million deposit.

The sale is now the subject of legal proceedings brought by TFL who have obtained an injunction from the Supreme Court in Victoria to stop the sales agreement from being terminated before a hearing next week.

The deal is also subject to approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board.

VDL sale timeline:

  • Deal struck for VDL sale to TasFoods on November 6
  • TasFoods deal “in excess of $ 280 million”
  • NPDC announces new buyer with “commercially superior” bid on November 20
  • TasFoods launches legal action over failed deal
  • Chinese businessman revealed as buyer on November 26

In a statement MLI said it intended to continue to supply fresh milk to the local Tasmanian market and maintain the existing local workforce.

Tasmanian Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson said as long as the company was creating local jobs and local wealth, then the sale was a positive thing.

“Like most Australians I would be concerned if a foreign company that bought a big, important asset if they didn’t employ local people, they didn’t provide further investment opportunity and contribute to the local community, I’d be worried,” he said.

“There have been situations in the past with Chinese state-owned enterprises, and that’s a separate matter.

“If this is a private Chinese company, and they support local jobs and communities that should be fine.”

‘Availability and pricing of food’ part of sale review

He said under the Foreign Investment Review Board approval process the Government will investigate both commercial and security implications of the sale.

But Senator Whish-Wilson said there was no way of tracking where Australia’s food was being sold.

“Of course with food and agriculture, we haven’t got far enough down the path yet where we can assess issues around food security,” he said.

“The Greens are very concerned that in the future food security is going to be a huge issue, and we have to be very aware of what’s happening with our local produce, where it’s being sold and whether we’ve got security around our own needs.”

Senator Whish-Wilson said, in the past, Chinese and Middle Eastern-government-owned businesses have gone offshore to buy agricultural assets, employed their own people and sold directly into their own markets.

We need to be very, very careful about casting some bogey over international investment into the market because it’s absolutely vital.

Tasmanian Liberal senator Richard Colbeck

“That can have implications for not just local jobs, if you’re bringing in foreign workers, but can also have implications for local markets,” he said.

“The availability and pricing of food.”

Tasmanian Liberal senator Richard Colbeck said foreign investment was vital to Australia’s agriculture sector.

“VDL in its 190-year history has always been owned by an international owner,” he said.

“That’s always been the case and the current development that’s occurred and the current significant employment that’s occurring there, has occurred under international ownership.”

“We need to be very, very careful about casting some bogey over international investment into the market because it’s absolutely vital.”

Circular Head Mayor Darryl Quilliam said while he would have liked to see an Australian company succeed, MIL’s investment was a great thing.

He said the company’s commitment to expansion would see more people employed in the region.

Aerial view of the Van Diemen's Land Company, Tasmania Photo: The new sales agreement for the VDL business in north-west Tasmania is conditional on Foreign Investment Review Board approval. (Supplied: Van Diemen’s Land Company)

“This company has got a lot of money and they want to do a lot of development which is exciting,” he said.

“It’s going to mean that there’s going to be people employed from our local district on that property so yep, it’s quite exciting times,” he said.

“I think that it’s great not only for Circular Head but for the whole state of Tasmania in the dairy industry and with contractors.”

He dismissed concerns about Chinese ownership.

“This company has never been Australian owned,” he said.

Mr Quilliam also said he was not concerned about the product being sent to China because most of the processed dairy products coming out of Tasmania are bound for Asian markets anyway.

Topics: agribusiness, dairy-production, federal—state-issues, greens, tas

Agen Sabung Ayam

Pirates attack foreign ships off Somalia

An armed Somali pirate along the coastline (January 2010)Image copyright AFP
Image caption Piracy in Somalia has declined considering that foreign navies started patrols

Pirates have attacked two foreign fishing trawlers off Somalia’s coast, seizing the crew of 1 of them, maritime experts and residents say.

A Thai trawler managed to escape, following a failed attempt on Monday to hijack it in waters off central Somalia, residents told the BBC.

Pirates had seized an Iranian-flagged vessel’s 15 crew following an attack in northern Somalia, officials mentioned.

Ships and their crew are mostly held for ransom in Somalia.

  • Africa Reside: BBC news updates
  • Somalia warns of return to piracy

Piracy in the region was at its worst in 2011, when more than 700 folks had been taken hostage.

There has been a sharp decline given that then, with about 56 foreigners currently becoming held by pirates in Somalia, according to the AFP news agency.

The fall in piracy came right after foreign navies – such as these from the US and China – started patrolling the East African coast and private firms put armed guards on their ships.

The Iranian vessel was captured on Sunday, and appeared to be heading for the Somali coast with three pirates on board, stated John Steed from Oceans Beyond Piracy, which monitors piracy, AFP reports.

“The level of illegal fishing is prompting these sort of attacks, and the prospective for bringing piracy back,” Mr Steed warned.

Somalis have typically complained that foreign trawlers threaten the livelihoods of fishing communities along the coast, and this is the main cause of piracy.

Bandar Sabung Ayam