Directors slammed for company sellout

WARRNAMBOOL Cheese and Butter shareholder directors have been labelled unAustralian for selling out to Canadian company Saputo which has acquired a majority stake in the Allansford dairy company.

“These directors have taken their money and run,” Ausbuy chief executive Lynne Wilkinson told The Standard yesterday.

“Another great Australian company has been taken over by international business.

“It means decisions for WCB will be made offshore, profits will go offshore and jobs, skills and management will be at risk,” she said.

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“Farmers will be at the end of the line and the future of family-operated farms is uncertain.

“There’s no guarantee Saputo will even keep WCB listed on the Australian stockmarket.

“Time will tell the full impact.”

Ausbuy is a lobby group representing Australian-owned companies including Bega and Murray Goulburn Co-operative which unsuccessfully tried to acquire WCB.

“The sale to Saputo leaves a critical hole in  locally-owned industry particularly in raw materials like milk,” Ms Wilkinson said.

“Seventy-five per cent of our dairy brands are foreign owned.

“If Australia is to take advantage of  opportunities as the Asian foodbowl we won’t get the benefits.

“Australia’s leaders have poor policy and limited thinking and are too busy thinking global and not looking after our own interests.

“Priority should be given to protecting our long-term interests in food, water, energy and transport.

“We want to see 51 per cent local control of companies.

“There is no transparency in overseas ownership,” she said.

pcollins@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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