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Saputo looks to delist Warrnambool Cheese & Butter after share offer

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By Jim Cornall+

Last updated on 31-Jan-2017 at 12:35 GMT2017-01-31T12:35:12Z

Saputo is trying to buy all remaining shares of Warrnambool Cheese & Butter.
Saputo is trying to buy all remaining shares of Warrnambool Cheese & Butter.

Canadian dairy company Saputo has made an offer to buy out the remaining shares of Australian firm Warrnambool Cheese & Butter (WCB).

Saputo, through its wholly owned Australian subsidiary, Saputo Dairy Australia Pty Ltd, made the all-cash off-market offer of A$8.85 ($US6.69) per share for the outstanding $11.98% of shares it does not already control.

Saputo said in an announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange that the offer is a 24.8% premium over the January 27, 2017 closing price of $A7.09 ($5.36).  The company already received Australian Foreign investment Review Board approval for the deal, which is also being recommended by WCB’s independent board committee.

Saputo also announced it would delist the company if it is able to do so, and would also proceed to compulsory acquisition if possible. It said that the expected closing date of the offer would be in early March.

The offer is conditional on Saputo being able to reach 90% of shares during or by the end of the offer period.

WCB is Australia’s fourth-largest dairy producer and includes brands such as Coon and Cracker Barrel.

Australian food company Lion, which is owned by Japan’s Kirin Holdings Company Limited, holds around 10% of the WCB shares.

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