Heinz gets final approval for Golden Circle takeover

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 9th December 2008

Heinz will complete its takeover of Golden Circle before Christmas after receiving approval today from the Supreme Court of Queensland.

An office copy of the Court’s orders will be lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission this afternoon at which time the scheme will
become legally effective.

Golden Circle Chairman Phil Cave welcomed the Court’s approval of the scheme of arrangement, which will usher in a new era for Golden Circle. “This heralds the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in Golden Circle’s history,” Mr Cave claimed. “We believe this transaction will help to consolidate Golden Circle’s future over the longer term. Heinz will put Golden Circle in a strong position to succeed and provide ongoing benefits and opportunities for employees, growers and customers.”

Golden Circle Chief Executive Officer Craig Mills added that the takeover will ensure the Golden Circle brand can grow thanks to the financial power of Heinz and their standing in the industry.

Golden Circle, a 61 year-old Australian company renowned for their canned fruit and vegetables, fruit juice and jam, earlier this year listed on the National Stock Exchange after refusing a $1 a share bid from Coca-Cola Amatil last year when they were operating as a co-operative – the Heinz bid values them at $1.65 per share. They announced a $3.5 million net profit in the 07/08 Fiscal Year, their first annual profit in a number of years.

Heinz Managing Director Peter Widdows said Heinz looked forward to positioning the Golden Circle business as a healthy brand in both domestic and international markets.
“Heinz is a substantial global food company with considerable marketing expertise and we propose to grow Golden Circle as a “healthy product” brand in many new markets,” Mr Widdows advised. “With the unique qualities and combined strengths of Golden Circle and Heinz, I am confident we can achieve growth and respond positively to the challenges and opportunities provided by the current market environment.”

“In this transaction, we saw the opportunity to produce Golden Circle food and beverages both efficiently and profitably and we see Golden Circle’s people, growers and customers as vital to our future success,” he concluded.

The implementation date is Friday 19 December 2008.