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Yili looks to Italy for better milk

By Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily)

Updated: 2013-11-14

Chinese dairy company Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co has formed a "strategic partnership" with Italian peer Sterilgarda Alimenti SpA, allowing Yili to upgrade its technology and improve the quality of its liquid milk.

Yili announced the agreement in a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange. It didn't give further details.

Song Liang, a dairy industry analyst, said that collaboration with top global dairy producers will boost Yili's product quality and technology levels, as well as expanding its dairy resources.

Yili looks to Italy for better milk

During the first three quarters of the year, Yili generated operating revenue of 36.5 billion yuan ($5.9 billion).[Photo/China Daily] 

The Italian company is a specialist in filter membrane technology, which can remove harmful bacteria and impurities and keep milk fresh for four to eight months without preservatives.

The technology also allows low-temperature sterilization, which maintains the nutritional value of the milk.

Song said Yili and Sterilgarda Alimenti are likely to establish a joint venture and create their own brand of liquid milk. Having that brand would allow the JV to tap into the high-end market and raise the profit margin for liquid milk, which accounts for a large share of the dairy products consumed in China.

During the first three quarters of 2013, Yili generated operating revenue of 36.5 billion yuan ($5.9 billion) and net profit of 2.52 billion yuan, up 82.7 percent.

Song said that the financial results demonstrate Yili's resilience amid a tough environment this year for dairy companies, which have faced milk shortages that limited their output and raised production costs.

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