Bellamy’s Australia gets China nod for infant formula, shares soar

(Reuters) – Bellamy’s Australia said on Wednesday that it had won approval to sell some of its infant formula in Chinese stores, a boost to its plan to sell to the giant market directly, which prompted a 24 percent rally in the company’s shares.

The company said it secured three approvals from a Chinese market regulator for its infant formula produced at the ViPlus Dairy plant in Victoria state.

Its shares rose as much as 24.3 percent for their best single-day performance since January last year.

“This (the approvals) is part of Bellamy’s strategic plan to build out a tiered-product portfolio and penetrate the China offline channel,” the company said in a statement, adding the ViPlus series of products would target the premium segment and initially focus on tier 3 and 4 Chinese cities.

Bellamy’s said it hoped to receive final certification from China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) soon.

The Tasmanian company regards China as its top growth market, which it relies on for almost all of its company sales – via Chinese shoppers in Australia who re-sell products at home.

The company has been waiting since 2017 for China to approve sales direct to Chinese stores.

In February, it said its half-year profit fell almost two thirds, hit by delays securing regulatory approvals in China and falling domestic sales.

Reporting By Rushil Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Neil Fullick

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