Give me a fair go, pleads public face of Chinese dairy bid

May Wang.
May Wang.

The Auckland woman fronting for Chinese investors raising money to buy 29 Crafar family dairy farms and set up a long-life milk packaging plant in the North Island has asked for a fair go from news media.

May Wang, a director of UBNZ Assets Holdings - the New Zealand company buying the farms - said she believed some coverage of her role had been false.

She said her separate Dynasty Group of companies collapsed two years ago owing money to about seven banks and finance companies related to property projects undertaken by her and her then business partner, South Auckland businessman Rob Reece.

Mr Reece was reported to have offered to put funding or equity from his Legacy Group company into the Dynasty Group, but she said this never happened.

When the credit crunch came, the property market collapsed, and Mr Reece was declared bankrupt.

Ms Wang said she was actively working on a proposal to repay creditors, and she was confident that charges brought by the Companies Office in relation to the Dynasty Group would soon be resolved.

She said she had not "fled" to China when liquidators moved on the Dynasty Group in October 2008, but had travelled between the two countries. She still lived in New Zealand.

"I do not believe my previous business difficulties should be used against a project that will only bring benefits to this country," she said. "Even if I have failed with my previous business, why couldn't I be successful in business again?"

Investors had the capital to buy the remaining Crafar farms, she said, and "if we gain Overseas Investment Office approval, we will continue capital raising in Asia for more acquisitions".

The Crafar farms are reportedly valued at over $200 million.

The corporate vehicle for the Chinese investors, Natural Dairy (NZ) Holdings, wanted to buy or build a $30 million long-life milk plant in the North Island.

It hoped to eventually also acquire a $100 million infant milk powder plant in the South Island, and additional farms.

- NZPA

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