The Chinese government’s ‘Bright Food’ group inked the deal this morning (Thursday) to purchase Israel’s national dairy company, Tnuva, from Apax Partners for NIS 8.6 billion. The Israeli government had no part in the deal.
Apax, which owns a 56 percent stake in the firm, will make a cool NIS 4 billion on the deal, and will not be required to pay any tax, according to a report posted on the Globes business news website.
The national kibbutz movement, which owns 23 percent of the company’s shares, did not sell. But Mivtach-Shamir Food Industries, which owns 21 percent of the company, is still negotiating, according to the report.
In a statement released to media, Bright Food said, “We are proud to acquire Tnuva. For us this is a long-term sound investment that will help Tnuva become a company that enters global markets. It is our intention to continue to keep Tnuva as an Israeli company and continue cooperating with all relevant local bodies including employees, farmers, and cattle farmers to faithfully serve the Israeli consumer.”
Under the terms of the deal, Tnuva’s CEO will be Israeli and its chairman of the board will be Chinese, from the Bright Food group. Its center of operations will remain in Israel as well.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been deeply invested in strengthening ties economically and diplomatically with China, and bilateral commercial ventures have risen over the past several years. Tourism projects between Israel and China has increased as well.
However, it is not clear what would happen if diplomatic relations between Israel and China were ever to falter, or if for some reason Israeli consumer regulations differed from those preferred by the Chinese food conglomerate.
The bottom line remains: What will happen to Tnuva — and by extension, to the Israeli dairy consumer — if relations between the two countries go sour?Hana Levi Julian