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Singapore based group takes over New Zealand dairy farms in Uruguay

Thursday, September 23rd 2010 - 00:25 UTC
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Singapore-based Olam International has successfully gained control of NZX-listed NZ Farming Systems Uruguay. As part of the takeover bid Olam offered 70c a share for all shares, valuing NZ Farming Systems at 171 million NZ dollars, conditional on getting more than half the shares.

In a notice to the stock market Olam said it had reached 50.1% of shares and that its offer had been declared unconditional.

“Olam believes that the strong support for the offer from [NZ Farming Systems] shareholders is a reflection of the full price being offered, and also the current financial position of [NZ Farming Systems] which requires shareholders to contribute significant new equity capital,” Olam said.

“The acquisition of [NZ Farming Systems] is consistent with Olam's dairy products strategy, which includes participation in dairy farming in low cost origins that will strengthen its market position in the dairy industry.”

NZ Farming Systems was set up by rural services company PGG Wrightson to develop dairy farms in Uruguay.

In its takeover offer Olam said the company had consistently failed to meet its targets, earnings forecasts were unlikely to be achieved and the operational strategy needed major changes. However, Olam managing director of coffee and dairy divisions Vivek Verma has said the company was not looking for a fundamental change in strategy.

“We are in it for dairy” Verma said.

Olam said it needed to be in a position of control with 50.1% to influence the future direction of the company but would also be happy to have a significant Kiwi shareholding.

An independent adviser's report by Grant Samuel valued NZ Farming Systems at 65c to 79c a share. The Grant Samuel report said NZ Farming Systems needed capital expenditure of 62.6 million US dollars to complete its development, including 16.8 million USD for irrigation and 11.7 million USD for milking sheds.

The company produced 68 million litres of milk in the year ended June 30, with 31 milking sheds and 55,000 livestock at the end of the period.

Categories: Economy, Uruguay.

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