The Australian Commerce Commission has received an application from one of Australia's largest food companies, National Foods, to acquire up to 100 per cent of the issued shares of New Zealand Dairy Foods (NZDF).
NZDF is 50.004 per cent owned by the Fonterra Co-operative Group. The Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 requires Fonterra to unconditionally dispose of its shareholding in NZDF no later than 27 September 2002.
National Foods, a publicly listed company, has core activities in milk and fresh dairy foods. The company wholly owns National Foods International Fine Foods (NFIFF), which manufacturers, distributes and markets yoghurts and dairy desserts in the New Zealand domestic market under the Yoplait brand name. NFIFF has one production facility in Palmerston North.
NZDF is a New Zealand unlisted company. It is majority owned by Fonterra, with approximately 6,200 current and former Fonterra farmer shareholders holding the balance of the shares. NZDF manufactures, markets and distributes chilled dairy products in the New Zealand domestic and export markets. NZDF's brands include Fresh 'n Fruity, Swiss Maid, Country Goodness, Anchor, Chesdale and Ornelle.
The Commerce Commission's role is to determine whether the merger has the effect of substantially lessening competition in any market. A public version of National Food's application will soon be available on request from the Commission.