Fonterra to get early access to Ski brand
National Foods and Fonterra yesterday announced they had entered into an agreement which would allow Fonterra to acquire the SKI yoghurt licence and associated intellectual property if National Foods’ proposed takeover of Dairy Farmers is approved.
National Foods, owned by Japanese-based Kirin Holdings, made an offer to purchase Dairy Farmers for $910 million which was unanimously recommended by the Dairy Farmers Board in late August. Shareholders in the Australian dairy co-operative have until mid-November to outline their opinion on the takeover proposal, with a final announcement on the deal expected at the end of this month.
Fonterra, a NZ dairy co-op and the world’s largest dairy exporter, had been linked to a purchase of the SKI brand since their acquisition last month of Nestlé yoghurt and desserts in Australia. As a part of that transaction Fonterra also acquired the long term rights to the SKI brand from 2012. SKI had been licensed to Dairy Farmers up to 2012. If the National Foods takeover of Dairy Farmers proceeds, then National Foods would gain the rights to the brand until handing it over in 2012 to Fonterra. The deal will consequently allow Fonterra to own the brand three years prior to the original changeover date.
Under the agreement, for the next two years National Foods would continue to manufacture, on behalf of Fonterra, the entire range of SKI yoghurts presently produced at the Dairy Farmers Wetherill Park production facility.
The companies believe full production of SKI at Wetherill Park is necessary to ensure continuity of supply and maintenance of quality for SKI products in Australia.