OIO approves Westland Milk sale to Yili

The Overseas Investment Office has approved the sale of the cash-strapped Westland Milk dairy co-operative to a foreign buyer.

The West Coast dairy company's 350 farmer shareholders voted overwhelmingly this month in favour of selling up to China's Yili dairy conglomerate, which already owns Oceania Dairy in South Canterbury.

The $588 million deal needed approval from the OIO because Yili is buying significant business assets worth more than $100m and 4.8 hectares of residential land currently used for factory worker accommodation at Westland's two processing plants.

The purchase still requires approval at a High Court hearing, set for this Thursday.

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