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'We won the race': Pioneers Holding claims victory in battle to acquire Arab Dairy

By Mark Astley+

03-Mar-2015
Last updated on 03-Mar-2015 at 16:02 GMT2015-03-03T16:02:48Z

'We won the race': Pioneers Holding claims victory in battle to acquire Arab Dairy

Pioneers Holding has "won the race" to acquire control of Egyptian cheesemaker Arab Dairy following a lengthy bidding war with Lactalis.

The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) today announced it has approved Pioneers Holding's E£71.11 (US$9.36, €8.36) per share "sealed bid" for a 60.2% stake in Cairo-based Arab Dairy.

Pioneer's winning bid topped the E£71.00 (US$9.34, €8.38) per share bid tabled by Egyptian Lactalis subsidiary, Al-Nour for Dairy Industries.

At E£71.11 per share, a 60.2% stake in Arab Dairy will set Pioneers back around E£255m (US$33.5m, €30m).

Pioneers already boasts a reported 16% interest in Arab Dairy.

If the deal is completed, Pioneer's Arab Dairy shareholding would increase to 76.2%.

Mohamed Aboulghait, managing director of financial services at Pioneers Holding, told DairyReporter.com that it expects Arab Dairy shareholders to accept the deal this week.  

"We hope that within five days the transaction will be accepted," said Aboulghait.

"We won the race"

Arab Dairy, which is best known for its Panda cheese brand, controls the seventh largest share of the US$843.9m (€684m) Egyptian cheese market, according to Euromonitor.

By 2019, Euromonitor expects this figure is expected to double to US$1.69bn (€1.37bn).

"It explains why we had companies from Europe and India making offers for Arab Dairy," said Aboulghait.

Pioneers' six month battle to acquire Arab Dairy began in August 2014 when it tabled a E£56.00 per share bid for the Egyptian cheesemaker.

In September, Arla Foods produced a non-binding E£65.00 per share bid, but decided, after a period of due diligence, not to pursue a takeover. 

Al-Nour entered the race in November.

Pioneers and Lactalis' Egyptian business have been head-to-head since.

"But at the final stage, we won the race," said Aboulghait.

"Our price was higher than Al-Nour's, and it was accepted and approved by the regulator."

Business development

The next step is to develop a business plan, said Aboulghait.

"We shall invest in business development, market share, human development, maybe product quality."

"It depends on the reports on the internal operations," he said.

"We need to have a closer look at the business before we give feedback," he added.

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