Iconic Australian food maker Goodman Fielder has finally agreed to an A$1.34bn (US$1.26bn) offer by Wilmar International and First Pacific Company to acquire the company after the last two bids were turned down.
In a statement issued on the evening of June 2, Goodman Fielder said it had entered into an agreement with Honk Kong’s Wilmar and Singapore’s First Pacific under which it will acquire all of the remaining issued equity in the firm.
Under the terms, Goodman Fielder shareholders will be entitled to receive A$0.675 (US$0.63) per share, In addition, shareholders will also receive a final dividend of AU$0.01 per share for the year ending 30 June 2014.
This is the third time the two Asian companies have tried to buy the troubled Australian maker of breads and spreads, whose product lines include Meadow Lea, Praise, White Wings, Pampas, Mighty Soft, Helga’s and Wonder White.
Their original offer of A$1.27bn (US$1.19bn) in April was rebuffed, so they sweetened it to A$1.37bn (US$1.28bn) in May. But having taken a further look at Goodman Fielder, the two lowered the bid to A$1.34bn.
The statement added that Goodman Fielder would appoint an independent expert to determine whether the deal is fair and in the best interests of its shareholders. A report on the matter will be released in September.
“I believe it… represents a positive outcome for our employees, our customers and our consumers. It provides an opportunity to further leverage our strong consumer food brands in Australia and New Zealand to grow our business across the Asian region,” said Steve Gregg, chairman at Goodman Fielder.
“In reaching our conclusion to unanimously recommend that shareholders vote in favour of the scheme, the board concluded that the proposal represented an attractive value outcome for shareholders,” he added.
The statement also revealed that the company, which held A$1.52bn (US$1.43bn) in net assets on December 31, will also take write-downs of A$300m to A$400m (US$281m-375m), or as much as 26% of its assets, in the year ended June 30.