Reproduced from Bloomberg Terminals, the dairy products increasingly become the daily necessities for the general public in the domestic market, especially in the era when the concern over health and nutrition is raised considerablely, and there are brand-new opportunities for the dairy industry to grow. On 16 December, AustAsia Group Ltd. (AUSTASIA GROUP or the Company; HKG: 2425), a dairy farm operator, officially launched its IPO, which has now entered the third day. It is expected to be officially listed on the HKEx on 30th December, with China International Capital Corporation Hong Kong Securities Limited and DBS Asia Capital Limited as Joint Sponsors.

According to the prospectus, AUSTASIA GROUP is one of the top five dairy farm operators in China, ranking third, fourth and fifth among all dairy farm operators in China in terms of sales volume, sales value and production volume of raw milk in 2021. The Company has a diverse customer base, ranging from leading national and regional dairy product manufacturers to emerging dairy brands, and provides premium raw milk to its downstream dairy product manufacturer customers. Meanwhile, the Company is the first dairy farm operator in China to design, build and operate large-scale and standardised dairy farms with over 10,000 heads of dairy cows, according to Frost & Sullivan.

Benefiting from the rapid growth of dairy industry and establishing a leading position
As an essential people’s livelihood industry, the dairy industry in China has been developing rapidly since the reform and opening up. Driven by the rapid development of the economy and the increase of per capita disposable income, the industry has experienced steady growth in recent years. According to Frost & Sullivan, the total retail sales value of dairy products is expected to increase from RMB557.4 billion in 2021 to RMB875.5 billion in 2026 at a CAGR of 9.5%. Also, the rapid growth and structural changes in the downstream dairy landscape have increased the demand for high-end raw milk in the upstream market, and the industry has a broad development prospect.

Leveraging plentiful experience and expertise, AUSTASIA GROUP commenced its dairy farming operations in China in 2009, laying a solid foundation for its long-term development. AUSTASIA GROUP currently owns and operates ten large-scale dairy farms in China, with an aggregate gross land area of approximately 14,657 mu. As of 30 June 2022, the total herd size of dairy cows was 111,424 heads, of which 57,383 were milkable cows. From 2019 to 2021 and for the six months ended 30 June 2022, the Company produced approximately 565,400 tons, 582,800 tons, 638,800 tons and 359,200 tons of raw milk, making it a pioneer in the high-growth dairy sector.

Proven and synergistic business integration with strong and stable financial performance
Relying on its strong and comprehensive competitiveness, AUSTASIA GROUP has established two main business segments, namely raw milk business and beef cattle business, and has achieved synergy between these two segments. The raw milk business provides stable and self-sustaining source of beef cattle with excellent genetic traits, health conditions and easy traceability for its beef cattle business, which improves the productivity of beef cattle and promoting a virtuous circle of development. Meanwhile, AUSTASIA GROUP also sells in-house branded dairy products under its own brand “AustAsia” to large coffee shops, milk tea shops, bakeries and dim sum chains in China.

At present, AUSTASIA GROUP owns and operates two large-scale beef cattle feedlots in China. The Company had a total 28,152 heads of beef cattle as of 30 June 2022. In addition, the business of AUSTASIA GROUP spans the key stages of the dairy farming value chain, including farm design and management, forage cultivation, in-house feed production, dairy cow breeding and raw milk production. Such highly proven and synergetic business integration model has built a moat for the development of the enterprise.

With its integrated business model, AUSTASIA GROUP recorded strong and stable operating income. According to the prospectus, the Company’s revenue from continuing operations increased from US$352 million in 2019 to US$522 million in 2021, representing a CAGR of 21.9%. As of 30 June 2022, the revenue amounted to US$278 million, with a year-on-year growth of 15.4%. From 2019 to 2021 and for the six months ended 30 June 2022, the gross profit margin of the Company was 34.6%, 37.1%, 33.7% and 24.5% respectively, and the adjusted net profit margin for the same period was 21.5%, 25.7%, 23.1% and 14.8% respectively.

At present, the dairy industry is in the stage of accelerated development, and high-quality dairy enterprises that can provide high-quality and high nutrition for the market are expected to usher in a golden period of growth. AUSTASIA GROUP, which is in the process of IPO, has made full preparations for listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In the future, the Company will continue to develop beef cattle business, expand diversified customer base, and develop genetic breeding technology, so as to create greater long-term value in a responsible and sustainable way, and step onto a new level of development.