Goodman Fielder in trading halt

TIM HUNTER
Last updated 17:53 15/05/2014

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Trans-Tasman bread and milk company Goodman Fielder has asked for a halt on its share trading in Australia as it considers a potential takeover deal.

In a statement to the Australian stock exchange, the Goodman Fielder said the halt was "pending an announcement ... in relation to information received by the company in respect of a potential change of control transaction which is under consideration by the company."  

Last month Goodman Fielder revealed it had received a non-binding conditional takeover proposal at A65c a share from palm oil trader Wilmar International and Hong Kong based investment company First Pacific.

Since then there has been increasing speculation that Goodman Fielder would sell its New Zealand dairy business separately. It has appointed investment bank Credit Suisse to advise on options for the Kiwi unit.

Wilmar and First Pacific have threatened to walk away if Goodman sells any of its businesses, but already some potential buyers have emerged.

Dairy group Parmalat has said the NZ dairy business is of strategic interest.

The business is a significant player in the NZ dairy market, delivering its milk and cheese brands such as Meadow Fresh, Puhoi Valley and Tararua to about 13,000 locations nationwide daily. Latest results filed to the New Zealand Companies Office show it had annual revenue of $490m and earnings before interest and tax of $43m.

Goodman Fielder shares last traded in Australia at A67.5c, or 73c on the NZX.

The trading halt is to be in place until an announcement is made to the market or the start of trading on Monday.

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