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Friday, July 4, 2014, 16:58

Alibaba's Jack Ma buys stake in dairy giant

By chinadaily.com.cn
Alibaba's Jack Ma buys stake in dairy giant
During the first three quarters of 2013, Yili generated operating revenue of 36.5 billion yuan ($5.9 billion) and net profit of 2.52 billion yuan, up 82.7 percent. (Photo / China Daily)

Yunfeng Capital, a private equity firm co-founded by Alibaba's Chairman Jack Ma, and Citic Private Equity, have acquired a stake in the Chinese dairy giant Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group, said Beijing Times on Friday.

The shares bought by the private equities in the unit are worth at least 2 billion yuan ($320 million), which would give them a combined 60 percent stake. Yili will hold the rest of the unit's shares, according to the news report.

Yili is not the only dairy company that has attracted private equities.

Huaxia Dairy has just received US$106 million from Olympus Capital Asia and sovereign wealth fund the Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC), according to the newspaper, citing GIC's news release on July 2.

According to the newspaper, $70 million of the investment comes from GIC while $30 million were added by Olympus Capital Asia who has invested $108 million into Huaxia Dairy in total making it the dairy company's largest shareholder.

China's dairy market is used to fierce competition. In February, Hong Kong-based private equity firm RRJ Capital said it would invest 1.5 billion yuan into Shanghai Bright Holstan, a dairy farming joint venture with Bright Dairy & Food, a subsidiary of Chinese conglomerate Bright Food Group. The investment will give RRJ 45 percent of stake of the company's share.

"The source of dairy supply is where the competition is at because the China's dairy market is expected to have big potential in market growth and that's what draws the capitals in," said Shen Meng, president of Chanson Ltd, a boutique investment banking firm.

Having private equity firm buying into Yili shows Jack Ma's confidence in China's dairy industry as well as Yili's unshakable standing in the industry, Shen said.

 
 
 
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