Murray Goulburn struggling to find suitor for buyout
The press has reported that a number of suitors have been lining up as possible bidders for the milk processor, from local rivals Bega Cheese and Saputo-owned Warrnambool to giants Fonterrra and China's Yili.
But rumours that MG had received a substantial formal bid were put to pasture in an official statement from the company. These were fuelled by an announcement at its full-year results presentation last month that it had fielded buyout offers and proposals for some of its assets.
Now, while confirming it had received a “number” of “indicative proposals”, MG stressed that these were non-binding.
The latest statement said: “These proposals have ranged from the sale of certain assets to whole of company transactions. No offer has been received for the units in MG Unit Trust for A$1.20 per unit, as speculated in the media.”
This was backed up by Yili in a submission to the Shanghai Stock Exchange, claiming that media coverage of the A$1.20 bid had been “inauthentic”.
MG went on to confirm that it is assessing a number proposals, including valuation, though “at this point it is too early to make any comment about valuation or implementation,” it said.
“MG notes there is no certainty that any transaction will eventuate,” the company added.
A buyout from Yili, which makes milk products for the Chinese market, would need to be approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board.
In the year to June, MG suffered a net loss of A$370.8m (US$295m), down from a A$39.8m profit a year earlier. It’s financial performance was hit hard when it was forced in May to write off almost A$150m in debts owed by farmers following last year's slump in milk prices.
Chief executive Ari Mervis said in August that the last year had "tested the resolve and strength" of suppliers, and said the "coming months would be pivotal for the future of the business".