WCB approves Saputo, but local players look to up bids; Small business trading conditions continue dive in September quarter: Midday Roundup

The board of the Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory has unanimously approved Saputo’s revised offer of $9 cash per share, but the bidding war is not yet over.

Bega believes its combined scrip and cash offer of $9.13 per share is superior to Saputo’s, while Murray Goulburn’s managing director Gary Helou told ABC’s Inside Business on Friday night its conditional $9 a share bid may not be the final offer from the company.

In a statement to shareholders, WCB chairman Terry Richardson said Saputo’s was the best offer.

“The Board’s recommendation reflects the increased cash consideration offered by Saputo and the compelling timing and execution certainty that it provides particularly compared to the highly unconditional Murray Goulburn Proposal,” he says.

Small business trading conditions continue deterioration in September quarter

Small business trading conditions have continued to deteriorate, despite improved business expectations, according to the latest figures from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The small business survey found profit growth remained unchanged at 36.2 points in September, with selling prices a new record low of 43.1. Wage growth and non-wage labour costs also posted another decline, falling to 58.2 and 57.6 points respectively.

But there was a marked improvement in small business expectations, following the recent change in government, with the expected economic performances index rising from 47.4 points to 50.7.

Business taxes and government charges remained the top impediment to small business investment.

ACCI chief economist Burchell Wilson said in a statement although there was an improvement in small business confidence, he is yet to see this translate into better outcomes across the board.

“Allowing the government to make Australia ‘open for business’ is a key to business confidence,” he said.

“It is vital that other arms of policy, especially regulatory policy and energy policy, take their fair share of the heavy lifting on stimulating demand.”

Shares fall on open

The Australian sharemarket has opened lower this morning, despite offshore markets closing higher on Friday night.

The S&P/ASX 200 benchmark was down 30.1 points to 5371.6 at 11:56 AEDT. On Friday, the Dow Jones closed 85.48 points higher, up 0.54% to 15,961.70.

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