Bega says bid gets better

MelbourneThe West Australian
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Bega Cheese says the sharemarket is lifting the value of its takeover offer for Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory every day.

Bega and two other companies - Canadian dairy giant Saputo and Australia's Murray Goulburn - are vying for control of Warrnambool.

Bega's offer of $2 cash plus 1.2 Bega shares for every Warrnambool share is the lowest of the three, valuing Warrnambool at $323 million on September 12.

Saputo's $7 cash offer for each Warrnambool share values it at $392 million, and Murray Goulburn's $7.50 per share offer values Warrnambool at $420 million.

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But Bega chairman Barry Irvin said Bega's share price rise meant its offer was worth $385 million, almost level with the Saputo offer, on Monday.

Mr Irvin told shareholders at yesterday's Bega Cheese annual meeting that the rise in Bega's shares reflected a belief its offer was a great opportunity to consolidate the Australian dairy industry.

Bega shares ended yesterday 8¢ lower at $4. Warrnambool ended down 1¢ at $8.10.

Mr Irvine said Bega had other opportunities to create value for shareholders.


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