The chances of a foreign takeover of Australia’s oldest dairy company, Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, have increased, with a fresh bid from Canadian company Saputo.
Saputo last night increased its previous bid by a dollar to $8 per share, valuing WCB at nearly $450 million.
It easily tops takeover offers from Australian companies Murray Goulburn and Bega Cheese.
WCB’s board, which yesterday announced a halving of the company’s net profit, has already recommended shareholders accept the Saputo offer, which would still need approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board.
Warrnambool’s managing director David Lord says he’s yet to hear from the other two bidders.
“It’s a compelling offer. It’s a material increase from where it was, it’s an almost 7 per cent premium to the Murray Goulburn offer of the previous week,” he said.
“It represents a 77 per cent premium to the closing price for our shares on the 11th of September when this whole thing started, when Bega Cheese their intentions to take over the company.”
Chairman of Bega Cheese Barry Irvin says his company hasn’t ruled out increasing its offer.