Fonterra seals Beingmate deal

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today confirmed that it has completed the partial tender offer and will acquire 18.8 per cent of Chinese infant formula manufacturer, Beingmate Baby & Child Food Company Ltd.

Fonterra will acquire 192.4 million of the 1,022 million Beingmate shares for $727 million.

Chief Financial Officer Lukas Paravicini said the companies had earlier made provision for the possibility of the Partial Tender Offer reaching slightly less than 20 per cent.

“Our goal was to acquire up to 20 per cent. We are extremely satisfied and confident that the partnership can and should proceed on the basis of the 18.8 per cent stake. It is a good result.

“Over the next few weeks, Fonterra and Beingmate will now move ahead with the next phase of our partnership, which includes establishing a joint venture to purchase the Darnum plant in Australia and finalising a distribution agreement making Beingmate Fonterra’s exclusive Anmum distributor in mainland China,” Paravicini said.

The transaction will be closed in the next few days.

Last August, Fonterra and Beingmate announced that they intended to form a global partnership to help meet China’s growing demand for infant formula. The partnership will create a fully integrated global supply chain from the farm gate direct to China’s consumers, using Fonterra’s milk pools and manufacturing sites in New Zealand, Australia, and Europe. It is intended to increase the volume and value of Fonterra’s ingredients and branded products exported to China.

Fonterra has also announced the resignation of Pascal De Petrini, managing director of the Co-operative’s Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) business unit, and member of Fonterra’s Management Team.

Petrini is returning to France to accept a role with his former company, Danone, as executive vice president strategic resource cycles in mid-June this year.

Fonterra Chief Executive, Theo Spierings said today, “Since joining Fonterra in October 2013, Pascal has strengthened our consumer and foodservice business. He is a strong team player who has set a clear, focused strategy to drive both volume and value in our key APMEA markets. We respect his decision to accept a new challenge and thank him for his leadership of our APMEA business during his time with the Co-operative.

“We have begun the process to recruit Pascal’s successor and our aim is to have a final structure in place by 1 August,” Spierings said.

As an interim measure, the Co-operative’s APMEA business will be managed by a temporary structure with the heads of the regions reporting directly to the CEO.

De Petrini’s resignation is effective immediately.

Image: Fonterra’s logo hung outside its plant in Auckland, New Zealand. Image: wantchinatimes.com