ASX-listed dairy manufacturer obtains OIO approval with DLA Piper’s help

The company sought consent to acquire five pieces of sensitive land in the Otorohanga area

ASX-listed dairy manufacturer obtains OIO approval with DLA Piper’s help

DLA Piper has helped ASX-listed dairy manufacturer Happy Valley Nutrition to obtain Overseas Investment Office (OIO) approval with regard to the freehold acquisition of five pieces of sensitive land in the Otorohanga area.

In addition to the land, which measures more than 300 hectares, Happy Valley is also intending to invest in significant business assets to the tune of over $100m.

“Consent from the OIO allows Happy Valley Nutrition to progress discussions with financiers, advance early site works, tender the main contract for a dairy processing plant and progress securing conditional customer supply agreements,” DLA Piper said.

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In order to obtain OIO approval for the transaction, Happy Valley had to provide evidence that the plant’s development and operation would have considerable benefit for New Zealand. Happy Valley cited job creation, a boost in export receipts, the protection of indigenous vegetation and heritage sights on the land and enhanced walking access in part of the land.

The company also presented an offer back of special land to the Crown, and the participation of New Zealand in its investment, according to the OIO.

“The benefits arising from the proposed development were compelling,” said DLA Piper corporate partner Martin Thomson, who led the firm’s team on the transaction.

The OIO said that it approved the transaction on the grounds that Happy Valley’s application satisfied the office’s criteria that “the individuals who will control the investment have the relevant business experience and acumen and are of good character.” Happy Valley also “demonstrated financial commitment to the investment.”

“This OIO consent is a major development for Happy Valley and delivers value to our company,” Happy Valley CEO Greg Wood said.

Special counsel Nicole MacFarlane and solicitor Alicia Williams also worked on the transaction alongside Thomson.

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