Biggest Australia Dairy Maker Said to Draw Yili, Saputo Bids

CHINA & AUSTRALIA - Chinese dairy producer Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co is among bidders that made formal offers for Australia's Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co, in a deal that may value the farmer-owned firm at about A$1 billion ($779 million) including debt, people with knowledge of the matter said.
calendar icon 13 October 2017
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Suitors including Canadian cheesemaker Saputo Inc and Kirin Holdings Co's Lion Pty unit made non-binding offers by Tuesday's deadline, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the details are private. Murray Goulburn will decide later this month on a shortlist of bidders, who will be invited to management presentations and site visits ahead of final offers, according to the people.

Australia's biggest dairy processor and adviser Deutsche Bank AG received several unsolicited indicative proposals earlier this year after announcing a strategic review. The company reported an A$371 million net loss in the financial year that ended June after it cut the price it pays dairy farmers and milk production fell.

After receiving the earlier indications of interest, Murray Goulburn requested that firms submit formal bids by 10 October, the people said. China Mengniu Dairy Co and Australian producer Bega Cheese Ltd were among the suitors who submitted offers by the deadline, according to the people. Murray Goulburn has also drawn interest from Italy's Parmalat SpA and Australia's Goodman Fielder Ltd, the people said.

A spokesman for Murray Goulburn declined to comment on the names of the bidders and said the company will update suppliers on the strategic review at its 27 October annual meeting.

A spokeswoman for Mengniu said a subsidiary submitted a non-binding bid. A representative for Parmalat wasn't immediately able to comment. Representatives for Saputo and Yili didn't immediately respond to requests for comment, while representatives for Bega, Goodman Fielder and Lion declined to comment.

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