Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory
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Canadian dairy giant Saputo is expanding apace internationally as it looks to offset domestic challenges with growth overseas. The group is expanding capacity in Argentina, has taken majority ownership of Australia's Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory in Australia and is hungry for more international M&A. Katy Askew reports.
Two of the bidders for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory have this week made fresh offers for the Australian dairy. The focus now moves to the third suitor - Canadian dairy giant Saputo, which has long coveted an entry into the market and is eyeing the business as a way into Asia.
The battle to acquire Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory has evolved into a complex series of tactical manoeuvres that could make Sun Tzu's The Art of War seem like light reading. Since the first takeover approach was announced, the tussle for WCB has seen industry majors Saputo, Murray Goulburn and Bega Cheese competing for ownership of the Australian dairy. With the stakes high, it is clear that it is all still to play for. Katy Askew reports.
Competition among processors for milk supply in Australia, price pressure from retailers and Bega Cheese's desire for greater scale to compete internationally are the key reasons for its move for local peer Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory.
Saputo has beefed up its scale through a swathe of acquisitions in recent years and the Canadian dairy company could seal a long-awaited deal to acquire Australia's Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory. But ambitious Saputo seems unlikely to rest on its laurels. Katy Askew caught up with president and COO Kai Bockmann at this year's Anuga to find out more about Saputo's growth drive.
Saputo has raised its offer to minority shareholders in Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory, the Australian firm in which the Canada-based dairy group, holds a majority stake.
Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory has backed an offer from majority owner Saputo that would see the Canadian dairy giant take full control of the Australian group.
Canadian dairy group Saputo booked higher full-year sales and earnings thanks to the contribution from recently-acquired Australian dairy firm Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory.
This week, the spotlight on the relationships between suppliers and retailers turned to Australia, where a new code of conduct is to be set up. Meanwhile, Spain's anti-trust watchdog fined 11 dairy companies over alleged price collusion. A series of M&A deals this week included Dr Oetker's move for European frozen cake maker Coppenrath & Wiese. And our latest management briefing analysed the opportunities for packaged food manufacturers in the US foodservice market.
Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory - the Australian arm of Canadian dairy group Saputo - has struck a deal to acquire the everyday cheese business of Lion Pty Ltd for approximately A$137.5m (US$107.1m).
Canadian dairy giant Saputo has reported higher half-year profits on the back of its acquisition of Australian dairy Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory and improvements from its US business.
Canadian dairy giant Saputo has booked higher first-quarter profits thanks to the contribution from recent acquisitions.
Australian dairy co-op Murray Goulburn is looking to build on the business it does in Asia with a series of capital investments.
just-food's look at the key issues facing the global confectionery sector, the savoury snacks business in Russia and the dairy industry in Australia are among the reports featured in this week's round-up from our research store.
Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory said today (28 February) its first-half earnings more than doubled despite the "distraction" of a takeover battle for the business, which resulted in Canada's Saputo taking majority ownership in the dairy group.
Saputo's takeover offer for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory has closed, with the Canadian dairy giant holding just shy of 88% of the Australian processor.
Australian group Lion has booked an impairment charge of A$338.8m on its dairy business, which it warned faced "considerable headwinds".
Last week, the race to buy Australian dairy Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory took a decisive turn when Murray Goulburn - and WCB investor - accepted the bid from rival suitor Saputo's takeover bid in what has been an ongoing saga. ConAgra Foods and US retailer Trader Joe's were accused of breaking competition law, while Cargill settled discrimination claims out of court. There were rumours French meats firm Jean Caby was undergoing a restructure and that United Biscuits could either float or be sold. And there were job losses at Kellogg, UK baker Bright Blue and US meat giant Tyson Foods. Here is the week in quotes.
Mondelez International last week announced Nelson Peltz is set to join the company's board. The activist shareholder's investment fund disclosed the US billionaire has turned his focus away from campaigning Mondelez to merge with PepsiCo - and encourage the cola and crisps group to split in two.
Murray Goulburn has decided to accept the takeover offer for fellow Australian dairy firm Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory from Saputo.
Saputo has secured control of Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory after winning the backing of shareholders representing over half the Australian dairy processor.
This week, we interviewed the boss of UK-based meat-free business Quorn Foods, which saw sales jump last year, helped by the horsemeat saga. We also spoke to the chair of the National Obesity Forum after its report warned forecasts on UK obesity rates may have under-estimated the problem. Elsewhere, Fonterra was caught up in another recall, Saputo received a boost in its bid to buy Australian dairy Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory and Hain Celestial swooped to acquire UK rice firm Tilda.
US group Hain Celestial swooped again in the UK last week, snapping up UK rice business Tilda. Meanwhile, obesity grabbed UK headlines with warnings forecasts for the condition could have under-estimated the problem. Fonterra issued another product recall, Saputo received a boost in its bid to buy Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory, while our first just-food interview of 2014 saw us meet Quorn Foods CEO Kevin Brennan.
Saputo's bid to buy Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory was given a boost today (16 January) after Bega Cheese decided to sell its stake in the Australian firm to the Canadian dairy giant.
Dairy led the headlines in our sector this week. Danone is to sue Fonterra over last year's botulism contamination saga, French dairy giant Lactalis has entered India with the acquisition of local firm Tirumala Milk Products and Saputo has told Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory's investors its offer for the Australian dairy processor is final.
Saputo has said its current bid for Australian dairy processor Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory is its "last and final offer".
Australian dairy processor Bega Cheese has received interest in its stake in local peer and takeover target Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory.
Tesco and Hershey grabbed the headlines in the last full week before Christmas with potential moves to bolster their businesses in India and China respectively. Beijing, meanwhile, has announced plans to investigate the price of agricultural commodities to try to encourage stability in prices. Horsemeat hit the news again with arrests in France over claims horses tested on in labs have entered the food chain.
Australian dairy processor Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory has told investors to "take no action" on the A$319m takeover bid from local peer - and shareholder - Bega Cheese, while it reviews what it has already labelled an "opportunistic" offer.
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