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to pay special .20 cent dividend

  1. looney

    1,035 posts.
    GMF - ASX Company Announcement
    $gen0 THIS IS A PRIORITY ITEM
    19 February 2003
    Part 1/1
    --------
    GOODMAN FIELDER LIMITED
    -----------------------

    HOMEX - Sydney
    -------------------------
    Declares 20 cents Special Dividend

    Goodman Fielder's Board of Directors today announced that it has
    declared a special dividend of 20 cents per share for shareholders.
    The special dividend is unfranked and will be payable on 11 April
    2003.

    Goodman Fielder's Chairman, Dr Keith Barton, said: "The special
    dividend is a return to shareholders following the recently announced
    sale of our Ingredients business and previous sales of other non-core
    assets for more than $600 million since July 2001.

    "The company has been endeavouring to return its gearing to a more
    appropriate level through on-market share buy-backs. As such, this
    dividend is consistent with Goodman Fielder's previously announced
    capital management strategy.

    "Shareholders will be aware that our share buy-back program was
    suspended as a result of the unsolicited takeover bid by Burns Philp.
    The Board considers that we must now move forward with a program for
    returning excess funds to shareholders after a delay of more than two
    months.

    "The Board considered appropriate methods to return funds to
    shareholders in light of the current takeover bid. A special dividend
    is a simple, fair, transparent process in which all shareholders can
    participate equally in a cash distribution. It also utilises excess
    cash reserves and the strength of the Goodman Fielder balance sheet
    to consequently move the company towards a more appropriate gearing
    level.

    "Goodman Fielder continues to increase shareholder returns as
    highlighted by our strong half-year results announced on 12 February
    2003. We are confident that our retail branded strategy is the right
    strategy, and recent results demonstrate effective implementation of
    this strategy in creating further shareholder value."

    Books close for the special dividend on 28 February 2003. Payment
    will be made on 11 April 2003. Shareholders are advised that the
    Goodman Fielder Dividend Reinvestment Plan has been suspended and
    will not be available for reinvestment of the special dividend.

    Under the terms of the Burns Philp bid, the payment of this special
    dividend will reduce the offer price by 20 cents to $1.615 per share.

    Goodman Fielder's Board of Directors continues to recommend that
    shareholders reject the inadequate bid by Burns Philp.

    Dr Barton said: "The Burns Philp offer price simply does not reflect
    the underlying value of Goodman Fielder's unique portfolio of retail
    brands, its strong market positions in Australasia and the Pacific,
    or the company's ongoing potential.

    "Under the leadership of Goodman Fielder's Chief Executive Officer,
    Tom Park, the company has significantly improved shareholder returns
    through adherence to disciplined core operating principles which have
    delivered productivity gains, more efficient capital management and
    improving core brand growth."

    Dr Barton also confirmed that Goodman Fielder is continuing to
    explore other alternative proposals to enhance shareholder value.
    These include discussions in relation to possible transactions.
    Goodman Fielder will keep shareholders informed of all material
    developments.

    Shareholders should also note that the Burns Philp offer remains
    highly conditional two months after being announced and is therefore
    uncertain as to its completion.

    Goodman Fielder's icon brands include Uncle Tobys, Meadow Lea, Mighty
    Soft Buttercup, Bluebird, Praise, Pampas, White Wings, Helga's,
    Quality Bakers and Flame.

    Further information:

    INVESTOR RELATIONS
    Lina Melero Nichele
    (61) 2 8874 6095, (61) 401 700 000

    MEDIA RELATIONS
    Stephen Ellaway
    (61) 2 8874 6064, (61) 401 700 151

    RETAIL SHAREHOLDERS Retail shareholders information line
    1800 242 200 or for callers outside Australia +612 9207 3697

    A copy of the full announcement which includes the Presentation
    Material, is available in PDF format on www.asx.com.au. Alternatively
    it is available for purchase from ASX Customer Service on
    1 300 300 279.

    ends - AAP


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