Equine


17
Apr 12

Connolly Red Mills wins first China contract

Chinese students to spend two months in Coolmore Stud as part of deal

Irish animal feed company Connolly’s Red Mills claims it is the first  in the world to secure a licence to import horse feed into China.

The deal – which could be worth several million euro – gives the Co Kilkenny company a first mover advantage in the huge Chinese market.

China now becomes Connolly’s Red Mills 37th export market globally and it already has a strong presence in the rest of Asia.

The group employs 200 people at its plant in Goresbridge and at export offices around the world, including the UK, Sweden, France, Japan and Malaysia.

The deal was announced in China today during the agri-services trade mission to the country being led by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney.

”Although the Chinese horse market is still emerging, there is considerable potential and advantage of us by being first past the post, said Red Mill’s managing director Joe Connolly.

Yesterday, it emerged that China had chosen Ireland to help establish a multi-billion euro horse-racing and breeding industry.

As a first step, Ireland will work with the Chinese government to put in place a national equine centre in Tianjin, the country’s fourth largest city.

The facility is expected to generate almost €40m in exports for Ireland within three years.

The Tianjin Equine Culture City project, costing almost €2 billion, will help China to develop a horse racing and breeding industry.

As part of the project, China’s top agriculture graduates from Chinese universities will spend two months at Coolmore Stud in Co Tipperary learning the industry.

While Coolmore is involved in the initial venture, it is expected that there will be opportunities for many other Irish companies and individuals to participate in the project as it develops.

Minister Coveney said the project arises from the pre-eminent position that Ireland held in the thoroughbred breeding world.

The announcement marks the first Chinese government involvement with an overseas joint venture in horse racing and breeding.

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17
Apr 12

Racing deal with China to bring in €40m

Livestock at the Coolmore Stud

IRELAND IS set to play a key role in efforts to develop China’s horse racing industry after it announced a €40 million export tie-in with the country’s first national equine facility, based in Tianjin.

The Tianjin Equine Culture City will be the first of its kind in China and the €1.5 billion project will open in phases from next year.

It will generate €40 million for Ireland over the next three years.

The news was announced by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, who is leading Ireland’s largest agriculture and food trade mission to China this week, the latest in a series of high-profile visits to the key Chinese market.

“This initiative should facilitate the development of a major export market for horses from Ireland and has the potential to provide a range of business opportunities for companies and individuals in Ireland who can bring a wide range of expertise to the project,” said Mr Coveney.

The deal marks the first Chinese government involvement with an overseas joint venture in horse racing and breeding.

The element of state involvement is significant because backing horse racing in China can be a bit of gamble in itself.

Betting is a major taboo in mainland China – chairman Mao Zedong’s communists banned all forms of gambling after the revolution in 1949. Hong Kong is the only venue on Chinese soil where betting on horses is legal and authorities are unlikely to legalise gambling on the mainland anytime soon.

There have been various projects aimed at taking advantage of the horse racing market in China in the event of the rules changing, but many have failed or been downsized drastically.

At the same time, there has been some restricted horse racing in China in recent years. Rather than gambling, punters can earn shopping vouchers or lottery tickets in raffles held between races.

Bai Zhisheng of the state-owned Tianjin State Farm Agribusiness Group said the tie-in helped ensure the group’s project was firmly established.

“We would like to accelerate the progress of the development . . . to get it completed, and with high-level partners this will help us achieve it,” said Mr Bai.

The racing venture and racecourse will require 600 to 800 horses for its inaugural year, which is targeted to have approximately 40 race days.

While Ireland has no agreement regarding the export of horses, a delegation statement said discussions were ongoing about sourcing of this bloodstock with Ireland enjoying favoured status.

The new facility in Tianjin, a city of 12 million, will feature 4,000 horse stalls, a horse clinic, 150 trainers’ offices, five training tracks, and two international standard racetracks.

It will also host a grandstand, a club house, an international equestrian college and a horse auction house on a 3.3 million square metre site.

The breeding programme will involve an agreement to import over 100 mares in the next three years.

The project will also involve the acquisition of stallions.

The link will include Ireland hosting seven of China’s top agriculture graduates, who will spend two months at Coolmore Stud learning the industry.

“The sector plays a huge part in the Irish economy, currently generating €1.1 billion annually. This industry is something we are good at, and today one of the biggest markets in the world has recognised that and has chosen to partner with Ireland,” said racing tycoon JP Magnier, speaking on behalf of Coolmore.

The trade delegation includes 51 companies and 127 individuals active in China. These are drawn from the meat, dairy, seafood, beverage, bloodstock and agri-services sectors.

The mission, which runs until Sunday, will also include Irish universities involved in the provision of educational courses in food safety and agriculture science.

The visit follows the high-profile visit of vice-president Xi Jinping to Ireland in February, during which he visited a farm in Clare.

Irish food and drink exports to Asia are estimated at €370 million for 2011, up 40 per cent on the previous year.

The main components of trade are dairy ingredients, including infant formula, pigmeat, fish and alcoholic beverages.

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16
Apr 12

Ireland a racing certainty in China plan

Irish horseracing expertise and breeding stock from the world famous Coolmore Stud is to be the foundation for the creation of a horse racing industry in China providing an export market for almost €40m worth of Irish horses annually.

Yesterday, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney announced a $50 million (€37.5m) Irish export project where Ireland has been chosen as China’s partner to establish their first new $2bn (€1.5bn) national equine facility. China lifted a 60-year ban on horse racing last year.

The announcement gives Ireland first mover advantage into a market which is expected to grow considerably in the coming years. Already Ireland’s export-orientated horse breeders produce more than 40% of all thoroughbred foals in Europe annually.

The Chinese are putting together a world-class Tianjin Equine Culture City (TECC) project, the first of its kind in China, close to Tianjin, China’s fourth largest city and the phased opening of the $2bn centre is expected to commence next year.

Ireland’s involvement in the project includes the initial establishment of a stud farm, stocked with broodmares which will be sourced in Ireland. The beginning of the breeding programme will involve the agreement to import over 100 mares in the next three years.

The Department of Agriculture said while Coolmore was invited as the initial joint venture partner, there will be huge opportunities for many other Irish companies and individuals to participate in the project as it develops.

Speaking in Tianjin yesterday, Mr Coveney, said: “This initiative should facilitate the development of a major export market for horses from Ireland and has the potential to provide a range of business opportunities for companies and individuals in Ireland who can bring a wide range of expertise to the project.

“Coolmore Stud is recognised as a world leader in thoroughbred breeding and is to be commended for their involvement in this major project.”

Coolmore Stud’s John Magnier said they are delighted to be one of the first Irish companies to kick-start this partnership and represent Ireland’s hugely successful horse breeding and racing industries.

“The sector plays a huge part in the Irish economy, currently generating €1.1bn annually. This industry is something we are good at, and today one of the biggest markets in the world has recognised that and has chosen to partner with Ireland”.

Owned by the Chinese government, Tianjin State Farm Agribusiness Group chairman, Bai Zhisheng, said he hopes they can quickly enter into a strategic partnership with captains of the horse industries.

“Ireland is a world-leader when it comes to best in class trainers and breeders, and we are delighted to be partnering with Coolmore, as it helps ensure our new national TECC project is firmly established in Tianjin. We would like to accelerate the progress of the development of TECC to get it completed, and with high level partners this will help us achieve it,” he added.

The project marks the first Chinese government involvement with an overseas joint venture in horse racing and breeding and the proposed Tianjin facility is only 30 minutes by train from Beijing.

It will have 4,000 horse stalls, 150 trainers’ offices, five training tracks and two international standard race tracks.

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