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Sanlu's assets go under the hammer next month

THE assets of the Chinese dairy company at the center of last year's milk-contamination scandal will be sold off early next month.

Sanlu Group's assets will be auctioned on March 4 at the Intermediate People's Court of Shijiazhuang, the capital of north China's Hebei Province, according to a joint statement issued by three auctioneers: the Hebei Jiahai Auction Co Ltd, Hebei Dongfang Auction Co Ltd and Hebei General Auction Co Ltd.

Sanlu Group's land-use rights, buildings, machines and equipment will be up for bidding. Other assets include Sanlu Group's investment rights and interests in three other dairy companies.

The court declared the company bankrupt on Thursday after it didn't repay its debts.

On December 19, the group borrowed 902 million yuan (US$132 million), which increased its debt to 1.1 billion yuan, to pay medical fees of children sickened by baby formula tainted with melamine and to compensate victims.

Beijing Sanyuan Foods Co Ltd is a potential buyer of Sanlu's assets. "Our board of directors will meet to decide whether to bid and discuss related details," Wang Qian, secretary of the board of Sanyuan, told Xinhua.

Sanlu stopped production on September 12. Its melamine-tainted baby milk powder, along with that made by other infant milk formula producers, was found to have caused the deaths of at least six children and made more than 300,000 children ill.

Last month the company was fined 49.37 million yuan by the Shijiazhuang court, which also imposed a life sentence on its chairwoman.


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