Kirin gets shareholder approval for Lion takeover

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 17th September 2009

Kirin Holdings has received approval from Lion Nathan shareholders for a multi-billion dollar takeover that will create the largest food and beverage group in Australia.

Australia’s second-largest brewer will join National Foods and Dairy Farmers as recent acquisitions by Kirin in Australia as the Japanese firm looks to boost profits while their home market remains in a rut. A meeting with shareholders was held today with 98.75 per cent of votes cast in favour of the scheme.

Pending final court approval, the takeover will be implemented on October 21 and will see National Foods and Lion Nathan merge into a new company named Lion Nathan National Foods Pty Ltd. This company will also include the Dairy Farmers’ business acquired last year – which has already been integrated into National Foods.

As a result, the Japanese firm will become the largest supplier to Australian supermarkets with a portfolio of prominent juice, dairy and alcohol brands.

Kirin said last month that they expect significant synergies to be reaped from the merger, but said it was premature to discuss any specific changes.

“Subject to the outcome of the general review…, it is expected that over time certain corporate functions will be centralised across the Australasian businesses. Kirin expects to achieve synergy benefits in these general areas over time. Kirin does not believe it has a reasonable basis to speculate as to what the value of these synergies is likely to be.”

The Lion Nathan executive team will remain with the merged group, and will become the senior management team for Kirin’s Australasian operations. The enlarged business will operate out of Lion Nathan’s current headquarters in Sydney and the current headquarters of National Foods in Melbourne.