The proposed buyer of Tasmanian dairy giant Van Diemen’s Land Company (VDL) is Moon Lake Investments, an Australian company set up specifically for the purchase by Chinese businessman Lu Xianfeng.
It was announced last week that an unnamed foreign, privately owned company had made the $280 million bid for Australia’s largest and oldest dairy farming company and paid a $20 million non-refundable deposit.
Melbourne-based company TasFood Limited (TFL) had already made a bid for the company and is now engaged in legal proceedings with VDL’s parent company Taranaki Investment Management Limited to stop the sale going ahead.
Mr Lu is the managing director and executive chairman of blind company Kresta Holdings, responsible for 700 staff Australia-wide and in New Zealand.
He is also the founder and largest shareholder of Ningbo Xianfeng New Material, which is listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of $1.52 billion.
In a statement Mr Lu said he travelled extensively but spent a significant amount of time in Australia.
He said he intended to work with existing management and continue to supply to the local market.
The Moon Lake offer is binding and subject to the approval of the Foreign Investment Review Board.
TFL director Hugh Robertson said his company already had a deal.
“Here is a company that for 190 years has never been owned by Australians and run by Tasmanians, and we think we had a deal and we intend to continue to press our case accordingly,” he said.
Mr Robertson said he was not surprised to learn the unnamed bidder was a Chinese businessman and said he was more concerned about the reticence of NPDC to disclose his identity.