Bega ups offer in WCB bidding war; GrainCorp FY profit falls: Midday Roundup

Bega Cheese has increased its takeover offer for the Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory, lifting it to 1.5 Bega shares and $2 cash per WCB share.

This new bid values the offer at $8.87. Yesterday, Murray Goulburn also increased its offer to $9 a share.

Both bids have now surpassed Canadian dairy giant Saputo’s latest bid of $8.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, Bega said this was its final offer.

Bega executive chairman Barry Irvin said Bega had shown milk price leadership in Victoria and demonstrated consistent financial performance.

“Upon a successful merger, Bega Cheese will maintain healthy gearing of approximately 32%,” Irvin says.

“Bega Cheese intends to preserve the Warrnambool Cheese and Butter name, operating sites and brands and has no intention to close the Warrnambool Cheese and Butter head office or the Allansford and Mil Lel sites.”

GrainCorp FY profit falls

GrainCorp’s profit has fallen by 31.2% for the 2012-13 financial year, down from $204.9 million in 2011-12 to $140.9 million.

GrainCorp chief executive and managing director Alison Watkins said in a statement conditions have been challenging for many growers.

“Drought conditions in Queensland and Northern NSW have negatively impacted yields in those regions, while recent frosts have affected many areas further south,” she said.

The news comes as the grain handler awaits a decision by the federal government on whether it can be taken over by United States agribusiness Archer Daniels Midland.

Shares up on open

Aussie shares have opened higher this morning, boosted by comments by the United States Federal Reserve suggesting the tapering of its stimulus program will be delayed until next year.

THE S&P/ASX 200 benchmark was up 32.8 points to 5352 at 11:57 AEDT. Overnight the Dow Jones closed 0.45% higher, up 70.96 points to 15,821.63.

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