Kerry makes €33m bid for co-op

THE global food giant, Kerry Group, confirmed yesterday it had made a €33 million offer for Newmarket Co-op Creameries.

Kerry said it had offered to acquire the entire issued share capital of the Co Cork co-op for €421 per share.

The deal, if approved, will be worth an average €39,000 to each of the co-op’s 680 shareholders, most of them residing in the Duhallow region of north-west Cork.

A person with 40 shares would receive €16,840 before tax, or a person with 100 shares €42,100.

Approval by Newmarket shareholders and the Competition Authority will be required.

An information meeting for shareholders will be held in Ballydesmond on August 25, followed by a special general meeting in Meelin on September 2.

The offer is being presented to shareholders by Newmarket board without a recommendation.

All the information will be placed before the Ballydesmond meeting with Kerry Group representatives also attending to answer questions

Independent financial and accountancy company, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, has advised the Newmarket board the Kerry offer represents fair value.

The offer would require a rule change to be voted on by Newmarket shareholders if it is to proceed. Members will be asked at the special general meeting to vote for or against a rule change. If a rule change is approved, members will then decide on whether to accept the offer.

Newmarket is a leading manufacturer of cheese from a state-of-the-art production facility and is a major supplier to Kerry’s branded cheese business.

Newmarket has some 150 active milk suppliers and employs 110 people.

Newmarket co-op chairman Patrick McAuliffe and chief executive Michael Cronin urged all members to participate in “this fundamental decision” on the co-op’s future.

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