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Wilmar, First Pacific make A$1.27B bid for Goodman Fielder

Wilmar, First Pacific make A$1.27 billion takeover bid for Goodman Fielder

April 28 (BusinessDesk) - Singapore-based Wilmar International and Hong Kong-listed investment firm First Pacific Co are seeking to takeover Goodman Fielder in a deal valuing Australasia’s biggest food ingredients maker at A$1.27 billion.

Wilmar, which owns 10.1 percent of Goodman Fielder, and First Pacific are offering 65 Australian cents a share, an 18 percent premium, in a non-binding conditional offer via a scheme of arrangement, Sydney-based Goodman Fielder said in a statement. Among those conditions were due diligence, unanimous recommendation by the Goodman Fielder board, approval from the Wilmar and First Pacific boards, and exclusivity in relation to the proposal.

“The board believes that the current proposal materially undervalues Goodman Fielder and is opportunistic,” the company said. “The board has advised Wilmar and First Pacific accordingly.”

The dual-listed shares have shed about two-thirds of their value over the past five years, closing at 55 Australian cents on the ASX last week. The stock is rated an average ‘hold’ based on 11 analyst recommendations compiled by Reuters, with a median target price of 54 Australian cents.

In February, Goodman Fielder forecast normalised annual earnings to be "broadly in line" with the previous year's A$185.6 million as soaring milk prices and intense competition in baking goods erodes profitability.

The maker of household brands including Vogel's bread, Meadowfresh milk and yoghurt, and Meadowlea butter and margarine has been cost cutting, restructuring and divesting over the past three years, to focus on its core brands and reduce debt.

“The board of Goodman Fielder remains focused on maximising shareholder value and will be constructive in relation to proposals which are consistent with this objective,” it said.

The company has appointed Credit Suisse as financial adviser and Herbert Smith Freehills as legal adviser.

(BusinessDesk)


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