18/10/04The State Government today announced the finalisation of a $12.8million joint venture between Western Australia’s Challenge Dairy Co-operative and Singaporean-based company QAF Limited.In a joint announcement, State Development Minister Clive Brown and Agriculture Minister Kim Chance said the joint venture in Challenge Australia Dairy Pty Ltd (CAD) would provide vital investment in WA’s dairy sector and provide for international market expansion.Mr Brown said the joint venture was overwhelmingly supported by the shareholder members of CAD, comprising 140 WA dairy farmers. “On finalising the agreement today QAF, through its wholly-owned subsidiary WA Oxdale Investments, has purchased a 51 per cent share in Challenge Australia Dairy for $7.8million,” he said. “A further $5.3million has been committed for the purpose of capital expenditure to upgrade or develop new milk processing facilities.”In addition, the joint venture partners anticipate building a new high technology dairy processing plant in WA within the next four years. The Minister said approval had been given for the final loan-to-grant conversion for Challenge Dairy Co-operative to enable the joint venture to proceed.Mr Chance said the State Government through the Department of Agriculture had worked to secure the joint venture, bringing together QAF and Challenge Dairy as part of a commitment to identify opportunities for international investment. He said equally important was the opportunity to expand the market access of WA dairy products through QAF’s considerable food distribution channels in Singapore and South East Asia.The QAF Group had been involved in the business of selling and distributing milk and dairy products in the region for many years through its ownership of Ben Foods. Ben Foods imported a substantial amount of Australian milk and dairy products, and distributed throughout Asia under its ‘Cowhead’ brand.“QAF was looking to establish a new core business in milk and dairy production,” the Minister said.“Its aim now is to grow the venture to become a major milk processor in WA dedicated to export markets.”Mr Chance said the joint venture arrangement provided WA with a strong opportunity to capitalise on the growth in demand for dairy products in Asia with a proven partner in the Asian dairy sector. “This should lead to increased milk production in WA and increased profitability for the dairy sector with the joint venture expected to develop a range of higher value-added products,” he said.State Development Minister's office: 9222 9699 Agriculture Minister's office: 9213 6700
From left to right are: State Development Minister Clive Brown, larry Brennan, chairman, Challenge Dairy,
Agriculture Minister Kim Chance and Gerard Woods, partner, Allens Arthur Robinson, representing QAF Limited.