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NZS shareholders accept Olam takeover offer

Monday 27th September 2010

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NZ Farming Systems Uruguay is now a subsidiary of Olam International, which mopped up almost 78% of the company in successful takeover offer to shareholders.

The Singaporean commodities company, which itself is now the in merger discussions with rival Louis Dreyfus Commodities, made an initial mid-July pitch to NZFSU shareholders at 55 cents a share, an offer that was lifted three weeks later to 70 cents a share. At that stage Olam already owned or had acceptances for about 18% of NZFSU’s shares, including an 11.5% Wrightson stake, and the offer to other shareholders closed on Friday September 24.

The additional 59.53% of NZFSU shares purchased by Olam cost $101.8 million, while its total investment to date to just over 190,000,000 shares has been $120.3 million.

NZFSU recently acknowledged some of its management strategies and purchases would have, in hindsight, been different. The company had also been seeking additional capital to enable expansion of its irrigation network, as well as to apply capital quantities of fertiliser to bring fertility up to that suitable for high performing pastures. Currently Farming Systems owns 11,000ha and milks over 20,000 cows.

The shares were unchanged at 69 cents in trading today, and have climbed almost 46% this year.

Olam intends to seek NZFSU board representation, and will immediately review and confirm its business plan as well as the necessary extent and timing of additional capital to complete farm development.

Olam is a globally integrated supply chain manager and processor of agricultural products and food ingredients, and ranks among the top 40 largest listed companies in Singapore. The company said that Uruguay has a comparative advantage in dairy farming as well as the capacity to significantly expand its production of dairy products.

It also has a quarter stake in dairy processor Open Country Dairy, which is itself the downstream of the Talley’s Group’s bid for Affco Holdings.

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