The end for Murray-Goulburn

TRADITIONAL regional dairy products processor, Murray-Goulburn will soon disappear from the district farming landscape.

Saputo will take over control of Murray-Goulburn Co-operative in the coming weeks after shareholders approved the sale to the Canadian dairy giant.

Shareholders approved the planned sale during an extraordinary general meeting last week, which gives investors an initial distribution of 80 cents per share within 10 business days of the completed sale.

Although the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approved the sale last week, subject to a court-enforceable undertaking that Saputo would sell the co-operative's Koroit factory within a specific deadline, the Foreign Investment and Review Board still needs to give the sale the green light.

The sale includes the owners of Warrnambool Cheese and Butter acquiring the co-operative's operating assets and liabilities for $1.31 billion, as well as an allocation of approximately $114 million to support the milk price for suppliers.

"Saputo has demonstrated itself as a credible and trusted processor in Australia through its investment in Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, providing us with confidence that they will honour all their commitments to suppliers going forward," Murray-Goulburn chief executive officer, Ari Mervis said.

"Saputo recognises that in order to run efficient production facilities they need profitable dairy farms and a profitable industry, supported by strong milk prices. Accordingly, they have also committed for at least the next five years to pay a competitive milk price which is no less than the greater of the price WCB pays its suppliers; and the final weighted average Farmgate Milk Price published by the two largest processors in the relevant region."

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