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National Foods Applies To Acquire NZ Dairy Foods

8 February 2002/012

National Foods Applies To Commerce Commission To Acquire New Zealand Dairy Foods

The Commerce Commission has received an application from National Foods Limited to acquire, through a wholly owned subsidiary, up to 100% of the issued shares of New Zealand Dairy Foods Limited (NZDF).

NZDF is 50.004% owned by Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited. The Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 requires Fonterra to unconditionally dispose of its shareholding in NZDF to a person who is not an ‘associated person’ of Fonterra, no later than 27 September 2002.

National Foods is a publicly listed company incorporated in Australia. It is one of Australia’s largest food companies with core activities in milk and fresh dairy foods. National Foods wholly owns National Foods International Fine Foods (NFIFF), which manufacturers, distributes and markets yogurts and dairy desserts in the New Zealand domestic market under the Yoplait brand name. NFIFF has one production facility in Palmerston North.

NZDF is a New Zealand unlisted company. It is majority owned by Fonterra, with approximately 6200 current and former Fonterra farmer shareholders holding the balance of the shares. NZDF manufactures, markets and distributes chilled dairy products in the New Zealand domestic and export markets. NZDF’s brands include Fresh ‘n Fruity, Swiss Maid, Country Goodness, Anchor, Chesdale and Ornelle.

In considering the application under the Commerce Act, the Commission’s role is to determine whether the merger has the effect of substantially lessening competition in any market.

A public version of National Food Limited’s application will soon be available on request from the Commerce Commission. Please contact Catherine Best, (04) 498-0953.

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