China Buys Control of Israel's Dairy Conglomerate

Thursday, May 22, 2014 |  Israel Today Staff

China’s state-owned Bright Food Group on Wednesday completed its $2.5 billion purchase of a controlling stake in the Israeli dairy conglomerate Tnuva.

Tnuva controls over 70 percent of the Israeli dairy market. Following the deal, China now owns 56 percent of the company.

The sale has for months been vigorously opposed by members of the Israeli Knesset and the numerous farmers who make up the Tnuva conglomerate.

They argue that selling such a large and important Israeli supplier into foreign hands creates a food security risk for the Jewish state.

The truth is that a majority of Tnuva has been owned by foreigners since 2007, when British investment firm Apax Partners bought a controlling stake in the company. Then, too, Tnuva farmers protested, but most were convinced to sell their shares after Apax negotiated acceptable supply agreements.

Now, the Israeli farmers fear their new Chinese owners will want to renegotiate those agreements.

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