New AGC bid not ruled out

Rueben HaleCountryman

GrainCorp-backed Australian Grains Champion has admitted a change to the CBH corporatisation offer may be on the table.

CBH’s 4145 members are still considering a proposal from AGC that would see them get up to $1 billion in cash as well as shares in a company listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, but a CBH poll this week has shown it would be almost impossible for AGC to convince growers to accept the deal.

First State Super is matching GrainCorp’s debt funding for the AGC bid, which needs support from at least 75 per cent of CBH members to succeed.

The CBH board previously rejected the proposal without putting it to a member vote, but AGC continues to lobby for support in the Wheatbelt.

In an email sent to its growers this week, CBH chairman Wally Newman said interaction with nearly 900 growers at a round of meetings and then followed up with an additional 1000 grower-member survey had showed 71 per cent of growers indicated support for the co-operative model and 89 per cent of growers supported the board decision to undertake a review of structure and governance.

Industry rumours have since surfaced that GrainCorp may be looking at offering up to an additional $300 million to get its deal across the line, but AGC strategic director Samantha Tough said that no amount of extra money had been discussed.

“The initial proposal remains unchanged, but whatever form any change is made in the future is still under consideration,” Ms Tough, who is also a former independent CBH board member, said.

Meanwhile, Mr Newman said AGC would be wasting their time and money if they were considering making another offer.

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