Bega Cheese has confirmed it is a shareholder in fellow Australian food producer Capilano Honey.

Media outlets in Australia on Friday (31 August) reported Bega Cheese was behind the purchase of a clutch of shares in Capilano Honey, which is the subject of a joint takeover bid from China-focused investment fund Wattle Hill RHC and Asia Pacific private-equity specialist Roc Partners.

Yesterday, Bega Cheese issued a filing with the Australian Securities Exchange that detailed it owned a 5.76% stake in Capilano Honey.

Last month, Capilano Honey announced the joint offer from Wattle Hill and Roc Partners. Capilano Honey’s board has recommended shareholders accept the bid, which is worth AUD20.06 (US$14.43) a share. The offer was 25.3% above the volume-weighted average price for the 30 days up to 10 August.

Wroxby Pty Ltd, an entity owned by Australian billionaire Kerry Stokes, is the largest shareholder in Capilano, holding 20.6% of the firm’s shares.

In the absence of a “superior proposal”, Wroxby said it intended to accept the bid from Wattle Hill RHC and Roc Partners.

At the close of trading today, Capilano Honey’s shares were worth AUD21.01.

Meanwhile, Capilano is among the businesses that have been accused in Australia of selling fake honey.

According to media reports in Australia, tests carried out Germany’s Quality Services International and commissioned by horticulturalist Robert Costa found half of samples chosen from supermarket shelves had been adulterated.

A mixed blossom honey sold under Capilano’s Allowrie brand was, in the majority of the samples tested, allegedly found to be adulterated, the reports said.

Capilano has denied there are such issues with its honey and criticised the methodology behind the tests.