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October 16, 2019

Aussie agri-food group Webster attracts takeover bid

Webster, the Australia-based agri-food supplier, has received a takeover offer from an overseas pension fund.

By Dean Best

Webster, the Australia-based agri-food supplier, has received a takeover offer from an overseas pension fund.

The publicly-listed Webster, a livestock producer and one of Australia’s biggest growers of walnuts and almonds, has agreed to a AUD854m (US572m) bid from Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP).

Webster, which also owns local honey supplier Australian Rainforest Honey, has entered into a scheme of arrangement with PSP over the deal, which remains subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.

Should the transaction go through, certain Webster assets, including the apiary business, will be transferred to a newly-formed PSP entity called KoobaCo. Under the terms of the deal, Webster investors Belfort Investment Advisors and Verolot will be offered the chance to own a combined 50.1% of KoobaCo.

Webster said the offer – worth AUD2 a share – would benefit shareholders “without the inherent risks associated with agricultural enterprises”.

PSP already owns a 19.1% of Webster, which, generated revenue of AUD207.3m in the year to 30 September 2018, the most recent set of publicly-available annual accounts, down 24.8% on 12 months earlier. Net profit fell 53.5% during the year to AUD27.1m.

Webster acquired Australian Rainforest Honey, sells its honey through retail and wholesale channels, in May.

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