Canadian dairy giant Saputo has launched a bid to extend its ownership of Victorian processor Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, Australia’s oldest milk processor.
Saputo’s Australian subsidiary already owns 88.02 per cent of WCB, after winning a bidding war against Murray Goulburn in 2014.
In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, Saputo said it had received Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval for the bid, which was conditional on it securing at least 90 per cent of shares.
Saputo is offering $8.85 cash for WCB’s shares. Prior to trade opening on the ASX, shares in WCB were at $7.09.
Saputo said its offer was almost 25 per cent above WCB’s current share price and 30 per cent above its six-month average.
The offer will remain open until the end of March unless the company extends it.
A spokeswoman for Saputo chief executive and vice chairman of the board, Lino Saputo Jr, said he was “unavailable for comment at this time”.
WCB is Australia’s oldest dairy processor, having opened in 1888.
When Saputo purchased WCB in 2014, beverage company Lion refused to sell its 10 per cent stake in the company.
The ABC contacted WCB for comment but referred the request to Saputo. Lion also declined to comment.