Saputo raises bid for Australian milk processor

by Eric Schroeder
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MONTREAL — Saputo, Inc. has raised its offer to acquire Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Co. Holdings Ltd. to A$8  ($7.68) per share, besting the A$7.50 ($7.20) per share offer submitted by Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co Ltd. on Oct. 18 and Saputo’s earlier bid of A$7 on Oct. 8. Warrnambool is one of Australia’s largest milk processors.

Based on the current issued share capital of Warrnambool, the purchase price for 100% of the shares would equal approximately $425 million and would be funded out of Saputo’s new $479 million three-year bank term loan.

In response to the offer price increase by Saputo, the board of Warrnambool has reaffirmed its unanimous recommendations that shareholders accept the offer in the absence of a superior proposal. Saputo said its offer has less uncertainty than rival offers, as its offer is subject to a limited number of conditions.

With two manufacturing sites in South West Victoria and South Australia, Warrnambool produces cheese, butter and butter blends, milk, cream and dairy ingredients for domestic and export markets.

Saputo is one of the top 10 global dairy processors, with products including cheese, fluid milk, extended shelf-life milk and cream products, cultured products and dairy ingredients sold in more than 40 countries.
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