Aussie firm Freedom Foods reduces stake in a2 Milk Company

By Mark ASTLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

Freedom Foods has reduced its stake in the a2 Milk Company to 10.4%
Freedom Foods has reduced its stake in the a2 Milk Company to 10.4%

Related tags: Milk

Freedom Foods has sold a chunk of its 17.8% stake in the a2 Milk Company, just months afters its joint bid with Dean Foods to acquire the business failed. 

In an ASX filing published earlier today,​ Australian firm Freedom Foods announced it has sold 42.5m shares in a2MC at NZ$0.73 (US$0.49, A$0.74) per unit.

The share sale generated net proceeds of approximately A$28m (US$20.2m, NZ$30m).

"Freedom Foods retains a holding of 75.2m shares in a2MC shares, or 10.4% of total a2MC shares on issue post their recent placement and share purchase plan,”​ Freedom Foods said. 

"Freedom Foods’ current intention is to maintain a strategic stake in a2MC, while continuing to provide a2MC with production capabilities and milk supply through its group and associated entities."

Net proceeds from Freedom Foods' sale of shares in a2MC will invested in “income producing assets”​ consistent with its growth strategy, including the construction of a UHT milk processing plant near Sydney. 

Expression of Interest

In June, a2MC received an Expression of Interest (EOI) from Freedom Foods and an "unnamed leading international"​ dairy later confirmed as Dean Foods.

A month later, a2MC said it would not recommend the deal to its shareholders as it did not find it "compelling."

a2MC later said there had been "no further communication"​ between it, Freedom Foods and Dean Foods​,​ and that it was not expecting a revised offer from the parties. 

"Although there has been no formal withdrawal of the Expression of Interest, the Board continues to consider that no takeover offer is imminent,"​ a2MC said on August 31.

Earlier this month, a2MC announced it was seeking to raise NZ$43m (US$28.5m) to support growth​ in infant formula in Australia, New Zealand and China. 

Sales of the company's a2 Platinum infant formula in Australia, New Zealand and China are growing. 

Milk, cream, ice cream and yogurt are also sold under the a2 brand in Australia. a2 Milk, which is also available in the UK and US, currently controls a 9% value share of the fresh milk market Down Under. It is rich in beta casein protein, but contains no A1 beta casein protein, which has been linked to digestive discomfort.

Related topics: Manufacturers, Fresh Milk

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