Business Leaders' Forum

Chinese food business acquisitions driven by food safety

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

A bid to improve domestic food safety was one of the Chinese government's main motivations for acquiring food businesses around the world, said Ben Mercer
A bid to improve domestic food safety was one of the Chinese government's main motivations for acquiring food businesses around the world, said Ben Mercer

Related tags: Food safety, Mergers and acquisitions

Improving domestic food safety was one of the main motivations of the Chinese government in acquiring food manufacturing businesses around the world, a lawyer for Stephenson Harwood told the Food Manufacture Group’s Business Leaders’ Forum.

Ben Mercer, corporate partner with the law firm, said: “The particular driver for Chinese acquisitions was to gain access to food processors and manufacturing methods to be rolled out in China – particularly to ensure food safety. As examples of that, we saw dairy acquisitions in New Zealand and Australia last year.”

Powerful motivation

Securing food supplies was another powerful motivation, he added.

But Chinese buyers sometimes found it difficult to prepare acquisition plans swiftly in order to compete with more fleet of foot western buyers. “It takes a long time to structure and complete a deal with the Chinese – whether they will be able to compete with western buyers in auction processes remains to be seen.”

Read more views about food and drink industry mergers and acquisitions, aired at the Business Leaders’ Forum, here​.

The event – staged in partnership with Stephenson Harwood – was chaired by Thorntons’ chairman Paul Wilkinson​ and sponsored by Agrantec, Intertek, Tata Consultancy, insurance firm Aon, Columbus IT and NSF International.

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