Arla Foods has dismissed a report in Australia the European dairy giant was set to enter the bidding for local co-op Murray Goulburn.

In recent days, The Australian newspaper has said Lurpak and Castello owner Arla was interested in buying embattled Australian dairy business Murray Goulburn, which last month revealed it had attracted interest from unnamed parties considering buying part or all of the company.

However, in a statement posted on Twitter today (18 September), an Arla spokesperson said the reports were “unfounded”.

Arla’s most recent significant move in Australia came in 2015, when it announced a joint venture with the country’s largest cheese importer, F. Mayer Imports, in a bid to multiply its business in the country “five-fold”.

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By GlobalData

Dairy companies including Australia’s Goodman Fielder and Bega Cheese, as well as Italian giant Parmalat, have been reported to be eyeing the under-pressure Murray Goulburn.

The Devondale owner disclosed last month it had received approaches. The statement came alongside the publication of Murray Goulburn’s annual results, which included lower sales and an annual loss of more than AUD370.8m (US$296.1m).

In June, Murray Goulburn, trying to rebound from a problematic 2016, launched a “comprehensive” review it said would look at “all aspects” of its strategy and corporate structure. The move followed a previous review of the group’s manufacturing network, which resulted in plans to close three facilities.

The co-op said last month it had been contacted with “indicative proposals from third parties” since embarking on the broader review.