Jacquie Lambie and Pauline Hanson slam the sale of iconic Australian baby formula brand to the Chinese
I usually agree with Pauline. I have always voted for her when I could. But she is not thinking deeply about this one.
This is quite unlike Mr Trump's attempts to protect American firms. In this case the jobs will stay in Australia and the raw product will come from Australian farms. So what does it matter who runs the bottling plant?
And this also opens up the chance of a bigger market for Australian milk. The Chinese owner will be in a position to promote and sell it in China in a way that no Australian firm ever could. It could be a big win for Australian dairy farmers
Senator Jacqui Lambie has slammed the sale of Australian baby formula company Bellamy's to the Chinese, calling the move an 'embarrassment to the country.'
On Friday, the Foreign Investment Review Board approved China Mengniu Dairy Company's $1.5billion bid to buy 100 per cent of the Tasmanian brand's shares.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg backed the approval but insisted that certain conditions were imposed.
The company will have to remain headquartered in Australia for a decade and run by a majority Australian board.
Shortly after the acquisition was approved, Ms Lambie took aim at the Morrison Government, saying the buying-up of Australian companies was 'concerning.'
'I think I'm like millions of Australians out there who are very concerned about the Communist Chinese takeover,' she told the Sydney Morning Herald on Friday.
'Every time they open a cheque book we roll over like a dog.'
Prior to the sale, Ms Lambie, along with senators of the Centre Alliance, had called for an inquiry into Chinese influence and buy-outs around the country from the foreign affairs committee.
Ms Lambie was joined by One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson as well as Barnaby Joyce who also voiced their frustrations over the acquisition.
Mr Joyce said he was 'disappointed' to see Australia lose yet another company to the Chinese and urged the government to make sure the conditions are properly met.
In a more scathing attack, Ms Hanson called on Mr Frydenberg to overturn the decision. 'Stop, just stop! Enough with the rampant sell off of Australia,' she said.
'These are money making entities, which are vital for our economy, they employ local people, and they contribute to our food production. Why compromise all that?
'Here we are allowing the Chinese to waltz in and snatch away one of the leading baby formula manufacturing businesses, with little consideration for what it means for our country's future; this takes another chunk out of Australia's ability to produce enough food for our own people.'
Ms Hanson, who accused the government of being 'frivolous' with Australian assets, said there needs to be 'more respect for what's ours.'
Bellamy's sale is expected to be finalised by the end of the year if shareholders approve the deal.
Mr Frydenberg has also required the Chinese buyer to invest at least $12million in infant milk formula processing facilities in Victoria.
'The conditional approval demonstrates our foreign investment rules can facilitate such an acquisition while giving assurance to the community that decisions are being made in a way which ensures that Australia's national interest is protected,' Mr Frydenberg said in a statement on Friday.
Before the takeover bid, shares in Bellamy's plunged 62 per cent in 18 months.
There were allegations the Chinese state brought this about by not approving Bellamy's request to sell organic formula in Chinese stores, which is still pending.
Mengniu is 16 per cent owned by food processing company Cofco, which is co-owned by the Chinese state.
The board of the Tasmania-based company denied the takeover had anything to do with fast-tracking Chinese regulation to allow expansion in the country.
Mengniu offered $12.65 per share and Bellamy's said it would pay a dividend of 60 cents per share, meaning shareholders get $13.25 per share.
That is a 59 per cent premium on the $8.32 price before the deal take-over bid was announced in September.
Mengniu is a huge dairy company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of $24.6billion.
Bellamy's CEO Andrew Cohen described Mengniu as an 'ideal partner'. 'It offers a strong platform for distribution and success in China, and a foundation for growth in the organic dairy and food industry in Australia,' Mr Cohen said.
Mengniu chief executive officer Jeffrey Minfang Lu said taking over Bellamy's would give it critical access to the Australian market.
'Bellamy's is a leading Australian brand with a proud Tasmanian heritage and track record of supplying high quality organic products to Australian mums and dads,' he said.
'This leading organic brand position and Bellamy's local operation and supply-chain are critical to Mengniu.'