Farm Ireland

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Door now open for Kerry in co-op bid

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

The proposed purchase of Newmarket Co-op by Kerry Group has moved a step closer following shareholder approval for changes to the Cork co-op's rules.

This move allows Kerry Group to proceed with an offer to buy the entire share capital of Newmarket.

The rule change was backed by 357 of the 439 co-op shareholders who turned out for a special general meeting (SGM) of the society held in the north Cork village of Meelin last Thursday evening.

The 'Yes' camp secured 81pc of the total vote, well above the 66pc required to carry the motion. Eighty-two shareholders (19pc) voted against the rule changes. Turnout for the vote was 88pc of the shareholder base.

The Kerry offer is worth €33m, with the price per share working out at €421. On average, Newmarket shareholders stand to make close to €39,000 from the deal.

Shareholders now have until September 10 to accept the Kerry purchase offer. If a majority of Newmarket shareholders sign up for the deal, it must then go for Competition Authority approval.

The Kerry valuation includes bank debt of €5.6m and transaction costs of €0.8m. On completion of the proposed transaction, Newmarket shareholders are to receive €26.6m, with a further payment being made following the sale of Newmarket Windfarms.

Newmarket is one of Ireland's leading manufacturers of cheddar cheese. The company's processing plant has an annual manufacturing capacity of up to 35,000t. The co-op had a turnover of €56.6m last year.

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Although Kerry Group processes and packs cheese at their facilities in Charleville and Coleraine, the company does not currently make cheese.

Irish Independent