Camperdown Dairy International (CDI), which has plans to build a milk powder and infant formula plant at Camperdown, has a new owner.
Queensland mining magnate Bill McDonald has sold his 80 per cent share in CDI to Queensland mining services owner Graham Huddy.
CDI, which was backed by Mr McDonald’s mining company MCG Group and the agricultural investment company EAT group, last year announced plans to build a milk processing plant at Camperdown.
The Camperdown factory was to be part of CDI’s aim for a vertically integrated dairy business that would take milk from the farm to overseas buyers.
The company demolished part of the former Bonlac dairy factory in Camperdown but construction of the new factory has yet to begin.
CDI has been in a court battle over its demolition plans with the site owner, Aqueous Corporation, whose sole director is Mary Bevilacqua.
The Victorian Supreme Court last month decided the site owner was entitled to impose a condition on granting consent for the demolition of a shed on the property but said the $2 million security sought was unreasonable.
It invited submissions from the parties about what the security should be.
While CDI doesn’t have a Camperdown factory, it does have one in Melbourne that produces infant formula.
CDI sells the infant formula to China, through Great Wall Capital Trading, a Hong Kong based wholesale import and distribution company.
The Victorian diary company was said to have locked in a deal to export $600 million worth of formula, every year for the next 15 years.
New owner Mr Huddy said he had bought into CDI as “an investment.”
“I have known Bill (McDonald) for years, probably the thing was basically something different and there might be a dollar in it,” he said.
He said he grew up on a cattle property, “so it’s not totally new to me.”
“It’s one of those things you just do, Bill has a quarry not far from my place, we had a few beers one day, and I thought, maybe I would support him in that.”
He said it was premature to say what would happen with the company.
“I think it will work out okay, if it goes wrong, it won’t be the first time an investment I have made has gone wrong – but we are hoping it goes the right way, as you do.”
Mr Huddy, a former diesel fitter, had a mining services business in Mount Isa, Queensland, selling it just before the Global Financial Crisis.
He also has an interest in racehorses. He has owned Shoot Out, a five-time Group One race winner.
Last year, Mr McDonald announced his company the MCG group and CDI had bought a property at Neuarpurr on the Victorian–SA border, and planned to set up a cutting-edge large-scale dairy as part of the strategy to create a vertically integrated dairy business.
It is believed the property is currently being used to grow hay.