New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra has said it is extending the closing date of its A$1.62bn (US$1.2bn) takeover offer for Australia’s National Foods to 1 February 2005 from 21 December 2004.

Fonterra made the unsolicited bid of A$5.45 per share at the end of October, but National Foods rejected the offer saying it undervalued the company.

In a letter to National Foods’ shareholders, Fonterra said it was extending the closing date to allow more time for the conditions of the offer to be satisfied. The company said the new closing date would apply unless it was extended further or the offer was withdrawn.