Australian dairy company Bega Cheese will buy the bulk of Mondelez International's trans-Tasman grocery business, including the flagship Vegemite brand, for A$460 million.

The deal will be fully funded by Bega's existing A$500m banking facility and is expected to boost earnings by A$40-to-A$45m and revenue by A$310m in the first full year of operation, Bega said. The dairy group generated sales of A$1.2 billion in the year ended June 30, 2016, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of A$65.4m.

The acquisition will give Bega the global trademark rights for Vegemite spread and ZoOSh salad dressings, a transitional royalty licence for several Kraft products including peanut butter and cheese until the end of the year, 6.3 hectares of land and buildings in Port Melbourne, and a licence for Dairylea and Snackabouts brands. The Philadelphia cream cheese brand wasn't included in the sale.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2017, and Bega said it will provide new cash flow and growing businesses that mirror its existing structure, and greater diversification to its existing dairy foods and nutritional businesses.


"This acquisition will be value accretive in its own right, strategically important and company making," executive chairman Barry Irvin said in a statement. "These iconic brands alongside the Bega brand are strong building blocks to enable Bega Cheese to become a great consumer goods business."

Australian dairy companies were caught off-guard by last year's slump in global dairy prices when there were was a supply glut, although Bega managed to ride through the downturn, lifting annual revenue and more than doubling profit.

Mondelez's New Zealand operations include the Cadbury factory which was part of a global takeover in 2010. The local holding company posted a profit of $9.2m in calendar 2015 on revenue $291.3m, of which $68.3m of sales were to Mondelez Australia and $19.4m to Cadbury Enterprises.

Bega's ASX-listed shares jumped 8.7 percent to A$4.87.