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Sanyuan to make bid for Sanlu assets

BEIJING Sanyuan Foods Co, a Beijing-based dairy, said it will bid for the assets of the Chinese company at the heart of a tainted milk scandal that sickened hundreds of thousands of children and was blamed for killing six.

The listed arm of the company said in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Saturday it would bid for the assets of Sanlu Group Co, which was declared bankrupt last week.

Sanlu was one of 22 Chinese dairy companies whose products were found to contain high levels of the industrial chemical melamine, which led to the deaths of six babies and caused 294,000 others to suffer urinary problems, according to the government.

Sanyuan was not named in the list, and said it could use its unscathed reputation and the assets to "improve its position in the industry and market competitiveness."

The company said it hopes to expand outside of Beijing and into Sanlu's old markets in neighboring Hebei and Shandong provinces. Sanyuan's Hebei branch as well as the main Sanyuan group will jointly bid for the assets, the company said.

Last year's milk scandal, over nitrogen-rich melamine that was added to milk to fool protein tests, exposed loose controls over large companies Mengniu and Yili Industrial Group Co, whose products were recalled.

Sanyuan will raise 800 million yuan (US$117 million) to 1 billion yuan through a private stock offering to expand its Hebei operations and bid for the assets, the company said in its statement.

Sanlu was declared bankrupt by a court in its north China base of Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei, last Thursday. Its real estate holdings, buildings and equipment will be auctioned on March 4, along with its investment rights and interests in three other dairy firms, Xinhua news agency reported.


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