THE Victorian Supreme Court has refused to grant an injunction, stopping the sale of Australia’s biggest dairy to a Chinese investor.
Justice James Judd rejected TasFoods' argument against the Tasmanian Land Company, that the sale of the Van Dieman’s Land Company (VDL) should not go ahead.
TasFoods chairman Rob Woolley said he would be talking advice on the outcome on Tuesday.
“The injunction wasn’t upheld – so we will take some advice now and gather our thoughts tomorrow, and see what we are going to do,” Mr Woolley said. “Of course we are disappointed.”
The decision clears the way for the sale of VDL to Moon Lake Investments Pty Ltd.
VDL, which has been operating in Tasmania since the 1820s, is currently owned by New Zealand’s New Plymouth District Council (NPDC), the parent of the Tasmanian Land Company.
NPDC entered into a sales agreement with Tasmanian dairy company, TasFoods last month, but later cancelled the agreement after it received what officials said was a better offer from private Chinese investor, Moon Lake.
New Plymouth District Council mayor Andrew Judd said he was pleased the court had ruled in its favor, by ending the injunction.
"In accepting the rival offer from Moon Lake Investments, which is A$30 million higher than the offer from TasFoods, the Council is fulfilling its obligation to make decisions that are in the best interests of the New Plymouth District community,” Mr Judd said.
Mr Woolley said it was likely the Foreign Investment Review Board would agree to the sale of VDL to Moon Lake Investment, an Australian company set up for Chinese businessman Lu Xianfeng.
Moon Lake, which also owns Kresta blinds, offered to pay $280 million for VDL.
TasFoods was back in court last week, to further argue against the sale of VDL to Moon Lake, after gaining an interim injunction stopping the purchase.
The matter was listed for hearing in the Commercial division of the Supreme Court of Victoria.
The court also ordered a copy of the agreement between Moon Lake and company principal Tasman Land Company be provided to TasFoods’ legal advisers.
On November 6, the Tasmanian Land Company announced TasFoods would buy the company for $250 million.
It later said Moon Lake Investment would purchase the company in a $280 million deal.