Westland buyer Yili in 'relentless' global expansion: report

Andrea Fox - NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 23 July 2019, 1:21PM
Westland buyer China's Yili nearing top of world dairy brand value rankings.
Westland buyer China's Yili nearing top of world dairy brand value rankings.

Yili, the Chinese conglomerate that has controversially bought the historic Westland dairy cooperative, is threatening to topple French giant Danone as the world's most valuable dairy brand, a new report shows.

Asia's most valuable dairy brand for four years running, Yili is No.2 in the world top 10 dairy brand value rankings and has "relentlessly" committed to its global expansion programme, said the Brand Finance Food & Drink 2019 report.

Brand claims to have the world's biggest brand value database.

It valued the dairy brand of part-state-owned Yili at US$7.7 billion ($11.3b), 24 per cent up on its value last year.

The dairy brand of No.1 spot holder Danone was valued at US$8.1b (NZ$11.9b), a loss of 10.4 per cent on its value last year.

Yili has bought Westland, a farmer-owned cooperative, for $588 million in a distressed sale. Yili takes over the West Coast's biggest employer on August 1.

The report also ranked Yili in third place in world food brand value rankings, with Danone second. Nestle topped the list.

The report said the Yili dairy brand showed no signs of slowing down its spread despite losing out to French dairy manufacturer Lactalis to acquire Danone's subsidiary Stonyfield.

The report noted the Westland acquisition and that of Thailand's Chomthana.

Brand said the acquisitions were key steps in the Yili brand's ambition of building a global network beyond its domestic market, targeting two billion consumers at home and abroad by next year.

No New Zealand dairy brand featured in the top 10 rankings.

Brand said Yili also retained the highest brand potential score in the dairy ranking, "highlighting the vast future growth opportunities for the brand".

Another Chinese dairy brand, Mengnui, also recorded a big increase in dairy brand value - up 45 per cent to US$5b (NZ$7.3b), which gave it third place in the top 10.

Brand said China was on track to overtake the US as the world's largest dairy market.

Switzerland's Nestle was again ranked the world's top valued food brand, however that value increased only 1 per cent year on year to $US19.6b (NZ$29b).

American drinks giant Coca-Cola remained the world's most valuable soft drinks brand, recording a 19 per cent increase in brand value to US$36.2b (NZ$53.5b).

In second place was Pepsi, which showed an 8 per cent drop in brand value to US$18.5b (NZ$27.3b).

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