LONDON, July 17 New Zealand's Fonterra
- the world's largest dairy producer - will cut some
milk powder prices in China, a newspaper reported on Wednesday,
joining a growing list of firms responding to Beijing's
investigation into the sector.
A number of international milk powder producers have cut
prices in the country after China's top economic planning agency
said earlier this month it was investigating producers for
possible price-fixing and anti-competitive behaviour.
Auckland-based Fonterra will reduce prices by up to nine
percent for its Anmum-branded range of formulated milk products
in China, the New Zealand Herald reported.
Fonterra managing director for China and India, Kelvin
Wickham, said in an emailed statement to the paper that the move
was aimed "to better meet consumer needs in light of recent
industry-wide price revisions".
Fonterra's European spokesman was unable to confirm the
price reduction, and Chinese and global spokesmen for the
company were not immediately available.
China is one of Fonterra's largest export markets.
Abbott Laboratories, French food giant Danone SA
, Nestle SA, Mead Johnson Nutrition Co
and Hong Kong-listed Biostime International Holdings Ltd
have already cut milk powder prices in China.
Drug pricing in China has also come under severe scrutiny,
with China's top regulators targeting British drugmaker
GlaxoSmithKline PLC, and announcing a crackdown on
pricing in the wider pharmaceutical market.
Demand for international milk powder spiked in China after
parents turned away from Chinese products in 2008 when infant
formula tainted with the industrial compound melamine killed at
least six babies and made thousands sick with kidney stones.
Last year Fonterra was the fourth largest milk powder
producer in China in terms of market share, according to data
from Euromonitor, and has plans to build a milk-processing plant
in China over the next few years.