News 937 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Wilmar buys stake in Goodman Fielder, eyes more

Singapore headquartered palm oil company Wilmar International said it has acquired a 10.1% stake in Goodman Fielder Ltd , Australia's largest listed food company, for $124 million and added its brands were a good fit.

The news sent Goodman Fielder shares soaring 30% as investors bet on a potential takeover offer, but Wilmar said in a statement it was still assessing whether to increase its stake.

"We look forward to working with Goodman Fielder and its management team to improve Goodman Fielder's performance over time," said Wilmar Chairman and Chief Executive Kuok Khoon Hong.

Wilmar is among several Asian companies that have been snapping up Australian food businesses. Wilmar bought Australia's largest sugar miller, CSR's Sucrogen, in 2010 for A$1.75 billion and last year took over Proserpine Sugar Co-operative for A$120 million.

It beat off competition for Proserpine from Chinese state-owned food giant COFCO, which earlier took over mid-sized sugar miller Tully Sugar. Most recently, Thailand's Mitr Phol moved to complete the takeover of MSF Sugar.

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