burns philp cleared to buy goodman

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    Burns Philp cleared to buy Goodman

    21.02.2003 1.19 pm

    New Zealand's competition regulator has cleared ingredients company Burns Philp to acquire Goodman Fielder but ordered it to sell its New Zealand yeast business.

    Burns Philp, an Australian company controlled by New Zealand billionaire Graeme Hart, had to divest itself of the New Zealand arm of its New Zealand Food Industries Ltd to satisfy monopoly concerns, the Commerce Commission said in a statement today.

    Deputy chairwoman Paula Rebstock said the body was satisfied a Goodman Fielder takeover would not substantially lessen competition in its markets for yellow spread (margarine, butter and mixes of the two), yeast or packaged bread.

    Burns Philp had already undertaken to divest itself of the New Zealand yeast business to avoid "vertical integration" issues if the Goodman takeover was successful.

    Burns Philp has already received approval from Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board to buy Goodman Fielder, and Australia's Competition and Consumer Commission has said it will not oppose the deal.

    Burns Philp launched a hostile A$2.2 billion ($2.38 billion) for Australia's largest food group in December. It extended its offer to March 5 earlier this month to give the commission more time to consider its bid.

    Goodman Fielder sells bread, margarine, edible oils and snacks in New Zealand, while Burns Philp operates in New Zealand through NZ Food Industries Ltd.

    Rank Group, Burns Philp's major shareholder, also supplies dairy products and margarines in New Zealand.

    Goodman Fielder shares last traded unchanged at A$1.77, compared to the takeover offer of $1.85 per share.
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