Goodman Fielder board backs takeover bid

by World Grain Staff
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HONG KONG, SINGAPORE  – First Pacific Company Limited and Wilmar International Limited have announced that they are proceeding with due diligence following a recommendation by the Board of Directors of Goodman Fielder Limited  to accept a joint takeover of Goodman Fielder by a 50/50 joint venture between First Pacific and Wilmar. 

Late last month, First Pacific and Wilmar submitted a non-binding all-cash offer for the joint acquisition of all of the shares in Goodman Fielder via a scheme of arrangement at A$0.65 per share, valuing the shares at A$1.27 billion. Last week, the bid was raised to A$0.70 per share, valuing Goodman Fielder at A$1.37 billion. It is this revised offer that Goodman Fielder’s Board has now unanimously recommended. 

“We are very pleased to be able to take a significant step forward with this proposed transaction,” said Manuel V. Pangilinan, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of First Pacific. “In Wilmar, we have a terrific partner in this investment.” 

First Pacific is the main holding company of the Salim Group. Its major investments include the Indofood business in Indonesia, a ranking noodle maker, and its Bogasari milling subsidiary.

Kuok Khoon Hong, Chairman and CEO of Wilmar, said, “We thank the Goodman Fielder Board for their support and look forward to working with First Pacific to make this a successful transaction for all.” 

The suitors have signaled they will not split up the business, but invest in a strategy to expand it into the Asian region.

Goodman Fielder is the leading listed food company in Australasia with such iconic brands as Medow Lea, Praise, White Wings, Pampas, Mighty Soft, Helga's, Wonder White, Vogel's (under license) and Meadow Fresh. 

Wilmar is Asia’s leading agribusiness group and one of the largest companies listed in Singapore. Hong Kong-listed First Pacific is a leading investment management and holding company with most of its operations in Southeast Asia. 

The due diligence by First Pacific and Wilmar is anticipated to take several weeks. 

The joint venture comes two years after Goodman Fielder sold its Champion flour milling business in New Zealand to Nisshin Flour Milling Inc. and its parent, Nisshin Seifun Group Inc. for NZ$51 million. At that time, Goodman Fielder CEO Chris Delaney said net proceeds of the sale to Nisshin would be used primarily to repay debt and further strengthen Goodman Fielder’s balance sheet.

“I am pleased with the significant progress we have made in strengthening our balance sheet as part of our strategic plan. This transaction builds on our other recent initiatives to ensure our group financial position is sufficiently strong and flexible to enable us to pursue our strategic agenda,” he said. 
 

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