“From an investment perspective Australia is a very attractive place. Australia has got a lot of quality around the natural environment, Australia has got great quality around the culture, rules of law, a high standard of how we do things,” he said.
“I grew up in Australia, so I think it’s a very attractive place. We’ve got fantastic natural resources,” he said.
Mr Ho said Bellamy’s would maintain its Australian heritage and keep producing the same “great” products here.
“Whatever owner, we’re still going to be Australian, I think that’s important. This company or other companies that are being acquired are not turning into some other nationalities,” he said.
Mr Ho said Bellamy’s would “absolutely” be a stronger company with a better future under Mengniu’s ownership.
“They are buying this asset, whatever it might be, to make it even better, to create long-term value,” he said.
From an investment perspective Australia is a very attractive place.
Bellamy’s Organic chairman John Ho
Asked if he was concerned that the criticisms of the deal made in recent weeks by politicians could have derailed it, Mr Ho said: “My first perspective is we should look at ‘are the new owners going to continue to invest in the company’.
“As a board … we’re very comfortable that there will continue to be a lot of investments in this company and by extension this country.”
Bellamy’s chief executive Andrew Cohen, who will remain CEO under Mengniu’s ownership, said there were “a lot of winners” under the deal.
“I think it’s a great result for shareholders, I think it’s a great result for Mengniu, and I think it’s a great result for the Australian dairy industry and for Bellamy’s going forward,” he said.
Mr Cohen said it was his understanding the company would be as an independent, Australian-run business.
Mengniu has signalled it would keep the Bellamy’s management team in place.
more to come
Darren is the mining and agribusiness reporter for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.