Australian dairy co-operative Murray Goulburn has continued to increase its stake in local peer Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory (WCB).

Murray Goulburn, which has had two takeover approaches rejected by the WCB board, has grown its stake in the group from 8.37% to 9.9% of shares, according to a filing with the Australian stock exchange today (22 March).

The company purchased the WCB shares on market and paid around A$4.50 (US$4.12) a share.

The price was 15 cents higher than the value of Murray Goulburn's second offer, which WCB rebuffed on 19 February.

Murray Goulburn's managing director Stephen O'Rourke has repeatedly insisted that offer is "a genuine proposal" to deliver higher returns to farmers.

However, WCB's board has insisted that the benefits of remaining a listed company outweigh those of joining the co-operative.