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Bounty Fresh makes $309-M bid for NZ’s Tegel

/ 05:36 AM April 28, 2018

MANILA/SYDNEY—Poultry company Bounty Fresh Food Inc. has mounted a NZ$437.8-million ($309.4 million) cash offer for New Zealand’s Tegel Group Holdings Ltd, in what would be the biggest outbound deal from the Philippines in almost two years.

The bid was priced at NZ$1.23 per Tegel share representing a 50-percent premium to Tuesday’s close. It comes amid sustained pressure at the New Zealand firm which has suffered a depressed share price and missed earnings forecasts due to a glut in domestic chicken supplies.

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In a filing with the New Zealand Stock Exchange, Tegel’s 45-percent shareholder, Claris Investments, said it had accepted the offer.

A spokesperson for Bounty’s mergers and acquisitions said the bid was part of an expansion strategy for Southeast Asia.

“We have operations now in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines—this brings another country into our grasp,” the spokesperson said.

He said Bounty had not yet conducted due diligence, but that the aim was to get Tegel “back [up] to speed.”

Tegel in March forecast profit for the year ending April of NZ$25 million to NZ$27 million, from NZ$31 million in 2017.

Tegel said on Thursday it was too early for its independent directors to comment on the offer.

“In particular, the independent directors do not yet have full details in respect of Bounty’s proposed strategy for Tegel, which is something we are focused on.”

Tegel shares rose 37 percent on Thursday to close at NZ$1.12.

The deal would be subject to approval from New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office which regulates inbound foreign investment.

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Reuters data showed that a Bounty acquisition of Tegel would represent the largest outbound purchase by a Filipino company since Universal Robina Corp. bought Australia’s Consolidated Snacks Pty Ltd in August 2016 for A$600 million ($454 million).

New Zealand’s economy is widely recognized for its agricultural prowess, with a clean image that makes its dairy and other produce sought after in Asian economies.

Tegel is New Zealand’s largest exporter of chicken and is responsible for more than half of the country’s poultry production. —REUTERS

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