New Zealand-owned dairy giant Fonterra has confirmed it has made an approach for embattled Australian dairy cooperative Murray Goulburn.

Rene Dedoncker, the managing director of Fonterra’s business in Australia, told Australian broadcaster ABC news network the company had been in touch with Murray Goulburn to make an offer.

He said the offer is “non-binding and indicative” and added “at this point we are going to sit tight and give the MG board the respect they deserve to consider all proposals”.

On Friday, Chinese dairy group Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co. said stories in the Australian media linking it to what was described a knock-out bid for the Devondale owner were false.

But it admitted it had been in touch with the Australian company to make a “strategic proposal”.

Last week, Murray Goulburn confirmed it has had approaches from a number of suitors interested in either buying some assets or taking over the whole co-operative.