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Dairy firm posts loss on tainted milk scam

BRIGHT Dairy and Food Co reported a 286-million-yuan (US$41.8 million) loss last year as a result of the tainted milk scandal and predicted it would still be tough for China's dairy industry to boost demand and restore market confidence this year.

Bright Dairy, the nation's third-largest dairy maker with a major footprint in the east China region, said net income fell from a 212-million-yuan gain in 2007, according to its filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange yesterday.

Revenue also posted a slower-than-expected growth of 13.44 percent to 7.36 billion yuan during the same period, against a 16-percent climb projected by its president, Guo Benheng, in December. The company aims to expand core business revenue to 8.2 billion yuan and a profit of 162 million yuan this year.

"China's dairy industry faced unprecedented difficulties after the contaminated milk scandal and some of the company's products saw sharp decline in sales," its statement said. "Demand also weakened as the global financial crisis spread its impact to China."

A banned chemical, melamine, was found in dairy products made by major Chinese dairy firms in September. The scandal caused at least six babies to die and sickened hundreds of thousands nationwide.

Bright Dairy, an affiliate of Shanghai-based Bright Dairy Group, earlier said it had stopped buying raw milk from individual farmers and would ensure its dairy products meet quality standards.


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