WELLINGTON, Nov 17 (Reuters) - A partnership between New Zealand's Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd and China's Beingmate Baby and Child Food Co. Ltd is moving forward after Beingmate shareholders formally approved a joint venture to buy Fonterra's Darnum plant, the New Zealand dairy giant said Tuesday.
The joint venture will manufacture nutritional powders including infant formula and other nutritional milk powders at Darnum in Australia for Fonterra, Beingmate and other customers.
Beingmate will own 51 percent of the joint venture and Fonterra will retain a 49 percent stake and run the plant operation.
In August last year, the two companies announced a global partnership to help meet China's growing demand for infant formula. In March, Fonterra bought a near 20 percent stake in Beingmate as it sought to boost its presence in China's branded dairy industry.
China is a crucial market for Fonterra, importing about a quarter of New Zealand's total dairy exports to meet growing demand for milk products, particularly formula, from the country's growing middle class. (Reporting by Rebecca Howard; Editing by Hugh Lawson)