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WELLINGTON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Dairy giant Fonterra said on Thursday it had established a 1.5 billion yuan ($216.36 million) multi-currency facility with the Bank of China , the first of its kind for New Zealand.
Fonterra, the world's largest dairy exporter, said the facility provided diversity in its yuan funding sources for its operations in China, its largest market.
"Bank of China has strong liquidity in renminbi and its local presence and knowledge offer us additional benefits in the rapidly developing Chinese financial markets," Fonterra's chief financial officer Lukas Paravicini said in a written statement.
Bank of China set up operations in New Zealand in 2014, following on the heels of other major Chinese banks such as ICBC and China Construction Bank.
Though still a small presence in New Zealand, the Asian giant's banks provided an alternative in the Pacific nation's claustrophobic banking sector, dominated by four big Australian lenders, and touted themselves as a way for New Zealand businesses to smooth their inroads into China.
"We see great opportunities in developing more renminbi (RMB) products and tapping into China's debt capital markets on behalf of New Zealand financial institutions and government agencies," said Bank of China New Zealand Chief Executive David Lei Wang in a statement, announcing the facility to Fonterra.
$1 = 6.9330 Chinese yuan renminbi Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Stephen Coates