Co-op bid of €33m likely to be accepted

THE €33m bid by Kerry Group for Newmarket Co-op is expected to be approved by the society’s shareholders at a special general meeting in Meelin, tonight.

Kerry outlined its offer to acquire the entire, issued share capital of the Co Cork co-op, for €421 per share, at an information meeting in Ballydesmond, last week.

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

The offer, which requires 66% approval by Newmarket shareholders, is being presented to members by the co-op board, without a recommendation either ‘for’ or ‘against’.

Supporters of the deal say it will be good for farmers and the region, and that Kerry will continue to grow the business in Newmarket. Some farmers are concerned there is no milk-price assurance in the proposal, and say the offer does not reflect the co-op’s value.

The independent financial and accountancy company, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, has advised the Newmarket board that the Kerry offer is fair value.

Newmarket has 150 active milk suppliers and employs 110 people. It had an annual turnover of €56.6m in 2009.

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