UPDATE 1-Kirin's Lion buys stake in Australia's Warrnambool

Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:59am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

* Kirin unit Lion buys 9.99 pct stake in WCB

* WCB shares surge to record high before paring gains

* Lion, Bega, Murray Goulburn can block Saputo - analyst (Recasts with Kirin buying stake, fresh comment)

By Thuy Ong

SYDNEY, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Kirin Holdings Co Ltd bought a 10 percent stake in Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Company Holdings Ltd (WCB) on Tuesday, in a move that could block a takeover of the Australian dairy company by Canada's Saputo Inc.

WCB has been the subject of a fierce bidding war, with Saputo, Canada's largest dairy producer, last week raising its bid to A$449 million ($430 million). That trumps separate approaches from WCB's two largest shareholders, Bega Cheese Ltd and Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co Ltd.

The purchase of the 9.99 percent stake by Kirin's Australian food and beverage unit Lion threatens to derail Saputo's bid, said Evan Lucas, a strategist at IG in Melbourne.

"It means that if they, Bega and Murray Goulburn banded together, they'd now have just shy of 50 percent so they will be able to block the bid from Saputo," he said.

Lion, which has brands including Berri juices and Pura milk as well as XXXX, Steinlager and Toohey's beer, said it had enjoyed a close relationship with WCB over many years and considered the stake buy "a continuation and strengthening of their relationship".   Continued...