SYDNEY: Malaysian billionaire Robert Kuok’s Wilmar International Ltd has convinced Goodman Fielder Ltd to accept a lower takeover offer, as the Australasian food firm warned of a massive impairment charge due to pressures on its baking unit.
Wilmar and Hong Kong investment firm First Pacific will now pay A$1.32bil (US$1.25bil) or 67.5 cents per share for the struggling maker of Country Life bread and Meadow Lea
margarine, Goodman said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
Just a month earlier, Wilmar and First Pacific were willing to pay A$1.37bil or 70 cents per share after Goodman rejected their initial offer of 65 cents.
Goodman gave no reason for the lower offer, but said it expected an impairment charge of up to A$400mil in the 2013-2014 financial year due to “challenging trading conditions and outlook” at its bakery business.
The revised offer “represented an attractive value outcome for shareholders”, Goodman Chairman Steve Gregg said in the statement.
The Sydney-based company’s willingness to accept a 3.5% cut in the takeover offer comes as Australian and New Zealand bread and dairy producers face intense pricing pressure domestically due to weak consumer confidence and tough competition. - Reuters