BEGA Cheese has assured the region’s sporting organisations that sponsorship provided by Sungold would continue should it be successful in taking over Warrnambool Cheese and Butter (WCB).
“There is absolutely no doubt that we would do at least as much as WCB and would look to build on that,” Bega executive chairman Barry Irwin said.
Sungold, WCB’s fresh milk brand, has a long tradition of supporting sport in the Warrnambool area.
It is a major sponsor of speedway, holding naming rights to the Allansford arena.
It sponsors the Warrnambool Cup, a $200,000 feature of the May Racing Carnival, as well as other events throughout the year. It also supports Terang Racing Club and Camperdown Turf Club.
It is joint major sponsor of the Hampden Football Netball League and also backs the Warrnambool and District league.
WCB instigated the Sungold Twenty20 cricket competition, covering south-west Victoria and south-east South Australia.
Its support extends beyond sport to include Fun4Kids, DemoDAIRY and Sungold Field Days, the hospital, schools and church groups.
Mr Irwin said Bega had a strong record of similar sponsorship in its headquarters town of Bega and recently started the Tatura 200 bike race since taking full control of Tatura Milk Industries.
Bega also supports a number of local charities.
“We realise that in these communities there is nowhere else to go for support,” Mr Irwin said.
“We’re very familiar with that sort of thing and strong believers in corporate social responsibility.
“I know from my own life what it’s like trying to get this type of support.
“I’m involved with a charity for autistic children, so I know what it’s like on the other side of the fence.”
Bega Cheese has made an offer to WCB shareholders to buy their shares off-market in a bid to merge the two companies, offering them 1.2 Bega shares plus $2 for each WCB share.
Shareholders will receive documentation for the offer after September 26.