Goodman Fielder dismisses takeover speculation16 August 2012
Goodman Fielder has rejected claims made by its largest shareholder, Wilmar International, that the Singapore-based agribusiness firm had put a takeover proposal to the Australian food firm's board.
Goodman Fielder said in a statement that “it has not received a proposal from Wilmar or any third party regarding the ownership of the company". Wilmar has a 10.1% stake in Goodman Fielder.
Earlier this week, Kuok Khoon Hong, Wilmar’s chief executive had told Bloomberg that the parties could not agree a price: "We were planning to make a bid but our price was lower than what the board wanted. The price went further and they still wanted the same price, so we decided not to do anything about it."
"Wilmar stands by the comments made by its chairman and chief executive, Kuok Khoon Hong, yesterday (Tuesday) that a proposal was put to Goodman Fielder in relation to the acquisition of Goodman Fielder," said a Wilmar statement.
Wilmar reportedly held in-depth discussions over a deal which is believed to have incorporated a 20% premium cash offer.
A Goodman spokesman refuted the claim in stating that "at no stage has Goodman Fielder received an offer regarding the ownership of the company from Wilmar or indeed any other party”.
"We have had discussions with Wilmar in their capacity as a shareholder, as we do with all major shareholders, but Goodman Fielder has not received any offer from Wilmar for the company," he added.
Last month, Goodman Fielder blamed “very challenging” conditions in domestic and overseas markets for issuing confirmation that full year profits would be at the the low end of expectations.
The firm has undertaken an extensive restructuring programme and hopes to save A$100 million in operating costs by 2014.
Measures taken include the decision to axe 541 jobs this year and the planned sale of the Integro commercial oils division and its New Zealand milling business. Goodman Fielder is expected to finalise a deal to sell Integro in the next month.
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