Saputo aims to grow Murray Goulburn's milk supply

Murray Goulburn's Koroit plant. Picture: Rob Gunstone
Murray Goulburn's Koroit plant. Picture: Rob Gunstone

The new owner of Murray Goulburn (MG), Canadian dairy giant Saputo, says it aims to grow MG’s milk supply and its markets.

In Saputo’s annual report on the 2017-2018 fiscal year, Saputo said its purchase of MG will provide opportunities in both domestic and export markets. Fiscal years in Canada run from April 1-March 31. 

Saputo’s $1.3 billion purchase of MG in April this year made it Australia’s largest dairy processor, adding seven more dairy factories to the one plant it previously owned in Australia, Warrnambool Cheese and Butter (WCB) at Allansford.

Saputo is in the process of selling off MG’s largest plant at Koroit as part of a deal it made with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to get its approval to buy MG.

The ACCC wants Saputo to sell the Koroit plant because it’s concerned the Canadian dairy giant will have too control of the regional milk market if it owns both WCB and the Koroit plant.

Saputo’s annual report does not give specific information for the 2017-2018 financial performance of the WCB plant, which is part of Saputo’s international division that includes its Australian and Argentinian plants.

But the report does state Saputo’s overall adjusted net earnings for 2017-2018 were $704.2 million Canadian dollars, down 3.7 per cent compared to the previous fiscal year. For its international division, its adjusted earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation, amortization (EBITDA) were $139.4 million, up from $102.2 million the previous year.

The company did say it didn’t expect a significant recovery in international cheese and dairy ingredient prices before October.

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