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China approves Asian bid for Australian food group Goodman Fielder

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China has given the green light to a A$1.34 billion (S$1.41 billion) takeover of Goodman Fielder by an Asian consortium, the Australian food manufacturer said Monday.

[SYDNEY] China has given the green light to a A$1.34 billion (S$1.41 billion) takeover of Goodman Fielder by an Asian consortium, the Australian food manufacturer said Monday.

The deal with Singapore-based agribusiness Wilmar International and Hong Kong investment manager First Pacific Company - first announced in July - was granted approval by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce's anti-monopoly bureau.

"Goodman Fielder advises that approval from the Overseas Investment Office in New Zealand is the last remaining regulatory approval yet to be obtained," said the company which is listed in Australia and New Zealand.

Australia's foreign investment watchdog and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission cleared the bid last year.

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A shareholder meeting to vote on the consortium's offer of 67.5 cents a share will take place on February 26, Goodman Fielder said.

Shares in the agribusiness company rose 4.69 per cent to 67 cents in early trade Monday.

The announcement came a week after the Australian firm, which owns food brands including Helga's, MeadowLea and Wonder White, reported a net profit of A$28.6 million in the six months to December 31, an improvement on the loss of A$64.8 million in the previous corresponding period.

Goodman Fielder said large bread discounts ate into its baking segment, its biggest division, more than halving earnings.

"The baking segment in Australia and New Zealand remains challenged by significant pricing pressure in the fresh loaf segment leading to reduced net average selling prices during the period," the company said.

AFP

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