Dairy Foods Control Passes To Rank
April 5, 2002
Statement made by John Storey, Chairman, New Zealand Dairy Foods Limited
The decision by Fonterra to accept the offer by a subsidiary of Rank Group Limited for its shares in New Zealand Dairy Foods, effectively passes control of NZ Dairy Foods to Rank as Fonterra owned slightly more than 50% of the company.
The key issue for the directors of NZ Dairy Foods now is the advice they will give to the remaining 6200 shareholders. This will need to wait until receipt of the independent appraiser’s report.
With Fonterra committed to accepting Rank’s offer, the remaining question is the level of ownership Rank achieves.
Rank’s offer has been passed on to independent advisors, Cameron & Co, and directors anticipate receiving its appraisal by mid April. We will use it to assist us in reaching the recommendation we will make to NZ Dairy Foods’ shareholders.
Our recommendation, Cameron & Co’s appraisal and Rank’s offer are likely to be in the hands of shareholders towards the end of April.
While the resolution of NZ Dairy Foods’ future ownership has been concluded within a shorter time frame and with less involvement by farmer shareholders than anticipated, the certainty provided by confirmed ownership will be beneficial in allowing the company’s management to return to the task of growing and developing the business.
The offer that Rank will make to the remaining shareholders will be identical to that made to and accepted by Fonterra.
Directors will hold discussions with Rank in the near future and will communicate any additional information it can to shareholders as early as possible.