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December 19, 2006

FINLAND: Atria sticks by Swedish Meats bid

Finnish food manufacturer Atria Oyj has dismissed rumours saying it has re-evaluated the offer it tabled for Swedish Meats.

Finnish food manufacturer Atria Oyj has dismissed rumours saying it has re-evaluated the offer it tabled for Swedish Meats.


Atria Group president and chief executive Matti Tikkakoski told just-food: “We made a new offer a couple of weeks ago but we have not made any other offer since. The bid is until the end of this month and this is the current status.”


Swedish Meats’ owners have reportedly voted for a merger with Finnish HK Ruokatalo, which has agreed to buy the company for around EUR113m (US$145m) plus debt.


However, despite press speculation, Atria has not changed its own current offer, which is valid until 31 December 2006.


On 28 November this year, Atria tabled a SEK851m (US$188.56m) offer to combine the processed meats operations of Swedish Meats with the processed meat operations of its Swedish subsidiary, Lithells AB.


This was followed on 11 December by a revised offer for the Swedish manufacturer that included higher voting rights.


Atria’s new alternate split would enable Swedish Meats to obtain approximately 10.8% of all the shares in Atria, and 10.8 % of all the votes in the company.


The Swedish food group has signalled its intention to stand by the original deal with HK Ruokatalo. “Swedish Meats entered an agreement with HK Ruokatalo on 10 November concerning future partnerships… Swedish Meats intends not to break this agreement,” Swedish Meats said.


In addition, the Assembly of Swedish Meats last week accepted the agreement, with the motion to accept carried with a clear majority. HK Ruokatalo Group will hold an Extraordinary General Meeting on 22 December 2006 to address the authorisation requested by the company’s board to decide on the directed share issue of 4,843,000 Series A shares with Swedish Meats.

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