Australia’s revised nation-wide Horticulture Code will include the potential for penalties of up to A$54,000 when it comes into effect on April 1, 2017.
The company has acquired over 98% of WCB shares and will now compulsorily acquire the remaining shares under ASX takeover rules.
Saputo this week raised its offer for WCB by 20c, from A$8.85 to A$9.05/share per share, leading to Lion Dairy selling its 10% stake.
Lion says while it will make a small profit as a result of the sale, its stake was a strategic one intended to protect the business’ broader interests, including longstanding contract arrangements with WCB.
“Since the purchase of the WCB stake in 2013, Lion’s Dairy & Drinks business has made significant progress in its turnaround program, including the sale of everyday cheese assets to WCB in 2015 as part of its tightening focus on core dairy and juice categories.
“Today’s sale to Saputo is therefore a logical step and a positive outcome for Lion. Existing contracts are unaffected by the sale, including Lion’s supply of parmesan cheese to WCB. Lion looks forward to continuing mutually beneficial commercial arrangements with WCB going forward.”
Saputo aims to delist WCB once it has full control.
Saputo emerged as the victor in a three-way race for majority ownership of WCB in 2013-14, but failed to gain the critical 90% for compulsory acquisition.