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Hong Kong company eyes Vitasoy takeover

Grain Central, October 20, 2022

HONG Kong-based Vita International Holdings has announced its intention to take full control of Vitasoy Australia, which the company owns in a joint-venture partnership with Bega Cheese.

Vitasoy manufactures a range of plant-based milk and yoghurt products made using Australian-grown soybeans, rice, oats and almonds.

Currently Bega, under its subsidiary National Foods Holdings (NFHL), owns 49 per cent of Vitasoy, which it acquired in 2021 as part of the Lion Dairy & Drinks business transaction.

Vita International holds the remaining 51pc.

As part of the deal, Vita International had the option to acquire all the shares held by NFHL at a price that is either agreed between the parties, or at an independently determined fair value.

This call option can be exercised for a 90-day period from the end of October 2022.

In a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Vita International said it has received Australian Government approval to move forward with the acquisition.

“The board of directors of the company is pleased to announce that the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) has issued a no-objection notification, which confirms the Australian Government has no objections to the potential acquisition by Vita International of the remaining 49pc of the issued share capital in Vitasoy Australia,” the statement said.

“As at the date of this announcement, and in light of the FIRB Approval, it is the intention of the board of Vita International to exercise the call option.”

However, the company has indicated it may not move forward with the option.

“Shareholders and potential investors in the Company should be aware that the exercise of the call option may or may not proceed, and if it does proceed, the terms of the exercise of the call option are at this stage uncertain.”

In response, Bega said in a statement to the ASX that it would provide further updates and consider its options regarding Vitasoy shareholdings.

“Bega Cheese recognises the growing market importance of plant-based beverages and products and will assess its options to continue involvement in this sector if its interest in Vitasoy Australia is acquired by Vita International,” the statement said.

Source: Bega Cheese, Vita International

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