Synlait Milk gets Chinese infant formula accreditation

Synlait Milk [NZX: SML], which plans to take a quarter-stake in Sichuan New Hope Nutritional Foods Co to gain a direct interest in a Chinese infant formula brand, has been granted accreditation to manufacture retail-ready infant formula for export into China.

The Rakaia-based milk processor has been notified of its approval by the Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People's Republic of China, it said in a statement. The approval comes after it missed out on the first round in May, when Chinese officials gave the green light to a handful of hopeful New Zealand exporters representing 90 percent of the nation's infant formula exports into China and while Synlait waited for the completion of a new facility at Dunsandel.

Synlait applied for registration after having the risk management programme at its dry blending and consumer packaging plant approved by New Zealand's Ministry for Primary Industries.

China has clamped down on regulations relating to foreign-sourced infant formula, which included firms demonstrating a close association between brand owner and manufacturer.

The stricter rules caused Synlait to warn of considerable disruption in the market, and the milk processor twice cut its earnings forecast before reporting a 70 percent lift in annual profit earlier this month.

Shares of Synlait rose 2.4 percent to $3.40, and have fallen 16 percent this year.