Parmalat has “no interest” in Goodman Fielder: report

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 21st January 2009

Italian dairy giant Parmalat has reportedly dismissed speculation of a possible bid for the dairy unit of Australia’s Goodman Fielder.

Italian newspaper La Repubblica said in an unsourced report over the weekend that Parmalat had hired an investment bank as they considered a play for the dairy unit of Goodman Fielder.

“There is no interest,” a source close to the situation told Reuters in response to the report.

Goodman Fielder’s dairy unit is based in New Zealand and was acquired by the company in 2005 for $830 million. Since then, the division, which accounts for approximately one-sixth of their revenue, has recorded a write-down of $170 million and seen earnings fall.

There have been suggestions that other prominent dairy players may make a bid for Goodman’s dairy unit, with Kirin Holdings, the owner of National Foods, and Canada’s Saputo among those rumoured to be possible players in any sale.

How keen Goodman Fielder would be to sell the business remains to be seen, however, especially as they are seeking to expand in Australia in an attempt to increase their market power. The company implied to shareholders late last year that they had mulled a possible bid for Dairy Farmers, but shied at the price tag, and remain hopeful of capitalising on takeover opportunities in a rationalising food sector as they seek to counter the impact of private label.