Freedom Foods - said to be talking to funders

Freedom Foods - said to be talking to funders

Australia's Freedom Foods Group is reported to be in talks with funders as part of its efforts to recapitalise its business with a cash injection of at least AUD200m (US$145.3m).

According to The Australian Financial Review, Freedom Foods has engaged with funders Oaktree Capital Management, Anchorage Capital Group and Sixth Street Partners in regard to its recapitalisation proposals.

The media outlet said it understood the funders would offer the group cash in the near future in return for an interest bearing loan and, potentially, an equity stake in the future.

The group's controlling shareholder, the Perich family, is likely to stump up the first AUD100m with that amount then match-funded by a financial firm, the newspaper said.

Freedom Foods announced last month it had extended a share trading halt again to give itself more time to complete an investigation into possible fraudulent activity.

It informed the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) its shares would remain voluntarily suspended until 30 November, one month beyond the 30 October deadline, which was itself an extension of the original self-imposed 14-day trading halt, while it finalised its accounts for the financial year ended 30 June, 2020, and to complete a recapitalisation plan.

Freedom Foods, which produces free-from cereals and snacks, and also fresh milk, milk drinks and plant-based beverages, has been undertaking a review of its accounts since August. In a call with analysts on 25 June, the company said it was probing the possibility of fraudulent activity after booking write-downs following the departure of senior executives.

The company said in June it had engaged professional firms Ashurst and PwC to assist with its internal investigation.

The group's annual general meeting has also been deferred while enquiries continue. 

just-food has asked Freedom Foods for its comment on this story.