A Chinese food giant buys an Italian olive oil maker

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Bright Food hasn’t disclosed how much it is paying for the Tnuva stake, but people familiar with the matter said earlier the transaction valued Tnuva at around $2.4 billion.

Shanghai-based Bright Food agreed to buy 56% of Tnuva in May. It first extended the closing deadline to Oct. 5 from the end of August and has now pushed it back again.

Buying Tnuva would give Bright Food, which already sells its own-brand milk at home, a premium-dairy offering that would play in to China’s increasing middle class and urbanization.

Bright said in a statement Tuesday that it plans to help Salov, which generates €330 million ($416M) in annual revenues, boost production of olive oil and its sales in China. The country spent $184 million on imported olive oil last year, 9.3% more than in 2012 and up from just $1 million a decade earlier.

Before buying the 60% stake in Weetabix two years ago, Bright Food in 2011 acquired Manessan Foods, which sells Albatros bread and Laughing Cow cheese in some international markets and confectionery items such as Jelly Belly in Australia.

The delay in acquiring Tnuva follows revenue declines at the Israeli firm in the months since the deal was signed. Tnuva lowered the prices of the cottage cheese and “sweet cream” it sells because the government began regulating prices of those products this year. Tnuva’s revenue from January to June dropped to 3.45 billion shekels ($937.7 million) from 3.59 billion shekels in the same period a year earlier.

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