Australian-based food company Burns Philp has announced that it plans to establish a new Australasian food company, intended to be listed on the Australian and New Zealand stock exchanges under the name of Goodman Fielder.

Burns Philp said it will retain a significant shareholding in the company along with appropriate board representation. The Goodman Fielder businesses will comprise Burns Philp's existing baking division together with its existing spreads and oils division. Its snack food division, including Uncle Tobys, Le Snak and Bluebird in New Zealand will not be included.

In addition, Burns Philp has, through Goodman Fielder, entered into a conditional agreement with Rank Group to acquire New Zealand Dairy Foods, a national supplier of dairy foods in New Zealand. The business will be merged with Goodman Fielder's New Zealand operations. The new Goodman Fielder will settle the acquisition shortly after completion of the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Goodman Fielder.

Burns Philp said the initiative to partly divest its interest in these businesses is driven by a belief that significant value has been created and it is now appropriate to realise that capital for redeployment. The company acquired Goodman Fielder in 2003.
Meanwhile, analysts have speculated that Burns Philp could go on a spending spree once the deal is completed.

"The transactions effectively give Burns Philp up to A$4.5bn (US$3.4bn) of acquisitive firepower," ABN Amro analyst David Cooke was quoted by AAP as saying. Cooke also said that Burns Philp was looking increasingly like an investment company rather than a food company.