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Bega sells share in Vitasoy beverages

Diversified food and beverage manufacturer Bega Cheese has sold its 49 percent shareholding in plant milk manufacturer Vitasoy to Vita International Holdings. The sale, for $51 million, follows the exercise of an option by Vita International to buy back the shareholding which was held by Bega offshoot National Foods Holdings. Bega will provide sales and distribution services for Vitasoy products during a transition phase. However Bega said: “Bega recognises the growing market importance of plant-based beverages and products and will assess its options to continue involvement in this sector.”

Tin Alley Ventures Fund undertakes first close at $100 million

The first close of Australia’s first university-specific large scale venture capital fund, the Tin Alley Venture Fund No 1, has been achieved, at $100 million. The fund is managed by Tin Alley Ventures, a joint venture between Tanarra Capital and University of Melbourne, and will “invest in and support the rapid development of new startups and ventures” affiliated with the university. According to a statement from Melbourne University, strong backing was received from professional investors, prominent family investment offices, alumni, Breakthrough Victoria, University of Melbourne and Tanarra Capital. The fund will support companies from seed stage through to pre-IPO. The Tin Alley Ventures Fund No 1 will undertake a second close in mid-2023.

Australia and the Netherlands in renewable hydrogen agreement

Australia and the Netherlands have signed an MoU to support development of a renewable hydrogen supply chain from Australia to Europe. Federal energy minister Chris Bowen and the Dutch Energy minister Rob Jetten signed the MoU at the Port of Rotterdam during Bowen’s visit to Europe to promote renewable energy cooperation. According to a statement from Bowen, the agreement complements the Port of Rotterdam’s work with state governments in TasmaniaQueenslandWestern AustraliaSouth Australia towards the establishment of a large-scale hydrogen network between the two countries. It covers areas including hydrogen trade policy, standards and certification schemes; port infrastructure and supply chain development; and government policies about safety, social licence and regulations for hydrogen.

Cooperative Research Australia urges innovation focus in pre-budget submission

Cooperative Research Australia (CRA) has published its 2023-24 pre-budget submission, urging the federal government to drive economic recovery through innovation and collaboration, build on successful industry-led research collaboration programs, and invest in an industry-ready, innovative workforce. “Peer countries and competitors alike are tackling the global economic crisis by growing their percentage of GDP spend on research and development (R&D),” said CRA CEO Jane O’Dwyer on Tuesday. “They are clear: the way forward is through innovation. Key recommendations include lifting R&D investment as a percentage of GDP from 1.8 to 3 percent, establishing an up to 20 per cent R&D tax collaboration premium, and invest in commercialisation training. The submission can be read here. 

New space antenna unveiled at University of Tasmania

A new communications antenna for ground support to space missions has been shown off at the University of Tasmania’s Greenhill Observatory. The $2 million antenna was jointly funded by the Australian Government’s Space Infrastructure Fund (SIF) and the university, and developed in partnership with the Australian Space Agency. According to a statement from the university, this new infrastructure will provide local and global partners with the opportunity to conduct activities never before possible in the southern skies. Professor Simon Ellingsen, Dean of School of Natural Sciences, said the new 7.3-metre antenna 70 kilometres north of Hobart would provide space-to-earth communications for low-earth-orbit satellites, adding that, “This is now the southernmost antenna of its kind in the world, adding to our Southern Skies Network.”

Picture: University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell; Anna Shave, Head of Capital Partnerships, Tanarra Capital; Grant Dooley, CEO, Breakthrough Victoria (credit University of Melbourne)

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