WARRNAMBOOL Cheese and Butter (WCB) will require more detail from Murray Goulburn Co-operative before its directors can make a recommendation to shareholders on its $420 million takeover bid.
Addressing the company’s annual general meeting in Warrnambool yesterday, chairman Terry Richardson said the board was still considering Murray Goulburn’s offer with the help of its advisers.
“There is uncertainty about the ability of Murray Goulburn to satisfy the competition condition and we require them to clearly articulate its intentions for WCB, its business, suppliers, employees and other stakeholders,” Mr Richardson said.
He said when the board formed a view it would be announced to shareholders.
“There will be adequate time for shareholders to then form their own view on each of the takeover offers and take the necessary action,” he said.
Chief executive David Lord outlined the results of an exceptionally tough year that saw the company make a net profit after tax of $7.5 million, down by 50.7 per cent, while milk intake declined 3.1 per cent despite supplier numbers increasing by 2.3 per cent.
Overall production fell 4.5 per cent. However Mr Lord painted a much more optimistic picture for the present season and the future, thanks to a turnaround in the final quarter of 2012-13.
Mr Lord outlined new investments in a cheese joint venture with Kraft, a premium powder agreement with Mitsubishi, expansion of its Great Ocean Road brand, a capacity upgrade for the joint-venture Great Ocean Ingredients plant, a lactoferrin plant, as well as introduction of instantised whey protein concentrate manufacture.
Ballots for the director elections were not counted at the meeting and results will not be available until today.
Six candidates contested four positions, including incumbent Kay Anthony who stood for re-election, Ray Smith and Neville Fielke who have been on the board since being appointed to fill vacancies, Robert Lane, Brendan Rea and Jim Doukas.
The result of voting on the granting of additional performance rights to Mr Lord will also not be known until today.
The WCB share price hit a new high yesterday, closing the day at $8.15.