Thai sugar giant has sweet tooth for Australia’s public-listed MSF Sugar

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 10th November 2011

Australia’s only ASX-listed sugar miller, MSF Sugar (formerly Maryborough Sugar Factory Limited), is the latest Australian company to be targeted by a foreign investor, with Thai sugar company Mitr Phol proposing a A$4.45 per share takeover offer.

Mitr Phol, which currently owns 22 per cent of shares in MSF Sugar, is one of the largest sugar producers in Asia, with an estimated market share of 19% in Thailand and 9% in China.

The takeover agreement is subject to the satisfactory completion of limited due diligence and approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board. The Mitr Phol Offer would value MSF’s total equity at $313 million.

MSF Chairman James Jackson said today, “MSF has approximately 4.7 million tonnes of cane crushing capacity, 550,000 tonnes of sugar production capacity, independent marketing capabilities and a significant stake in strategic industry sugar terminal infrastructure through Sugar Terminals Limited.  Working together with Mitr Phol, we believe we would be uniquely positioned to take advantage of growth opportunities in sugar, both in Australia and in the Asian region.”

In a statement, MSF said it will work with Mitr Phol to see if the due diligence requirements can be quickly satisfied and a takeover offer formalised on the terms agreed.

MSF’s activities include sugar growing, raw sugar manufacture, raw sugar marketing and a 13.3% investment in Sugar Terminals Ltd, the owner Queensland’s bulk sugar terminals. MSF’s core business activities are conducted in the Maryborough, Gordonvale and Isis districts in Queensland.

Meanwhile, Prosperpine Mill still in negotiation with foreign investors

Meanwhile, Queensland’s Proserpine Co-operative Sugar Milling Association Limited (PCSMA) has gone into voluntary administration. As previously reported by Australian Food News, Chinese-owned Tully Sugar Limited and Singapore-based conglomerate Sucrogen are each in takeover negotiations with PCSMA.

The PCSMA, a co-operative sugar mill that is wholly-owned by 214 sugarcane suppliers, is Australia’s fifth-largest raw sugar mill.

Voluntary administrators Korda Mentha said thier appointment followed the failure of sufficient PCSMA members to support Sucrogen’s takeover proposal and allow the sale of the business of the PCSMA to Sucrogen.