Parmalat decision put back to next week

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 17th July 2008

The ACCC’s decision on approval for Parmalat and Murray-Goulburn’s proposed bid for Dairy Farmers has been delayed until next Thursday.

The findings were initially due today but, at “the request of the parties”, the announcement has been put off until next week. Just-Food reported earlier this week that Parmalat believed a decision on the battle to buy Dairy Farmers could be revealed this week, but, given the ACCC has yet to grant approval to any bidder, this appears unlikely.

Dairy Farmers, meanwhile, has reportedly provided the unaudited accounts of this financial year to the companies proposing to bid. The Australian Financial Review has suggested that initial figures highlight EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation) growth of 23 per cent this year to about $70m, which would be in-line with their 15-25 per cent growth aim.

The Australian dairy co-operative, owned by 2000 farmers, has been valued up to $1b, and the race to purchase the company is now between Parmalat-Murray-Goulburn and the joint bid by National Foods and Warrnambool Cheese and Butter. Since Fonterra withdrew their plan to make a solo bid there has also been speculation that they will team up with National Foods and WCB, while the likelihood of Canadian dairy giant Saputo entering the race is becoming more remote by the day.

The ACCC is now due to announce their findings next Thursday (24 July) for both the Parmalat/M-G and National Foods/WCB proposals.