Kirin stakes claim to cheese brands
The food and beverage giant wants to ensure Saputo continues an agreement to supply more than 10,000 tonnes of cheese a year it sells in Australia should the Canadian company acquire WCB.
Kirin’s local unit Lion has a suppl Burberry Outlet y contract for the Coon and Cracker Barrel brands with WCB’s Allansford factory that expires mid next year.
The relationship between Lion and WCB stretches back to 2008 when Kirin s Burberry Outlet pent $884 million buying Dairy Farmers, which produces milk, yoghurt, desserts and cheese.
Saputo has stressed it does not wish to end the agreement with Lion, which has no alternative cheese supplier.
Allansford’s importance to Lion’s cheese business prompted the October pu Burberry Outlet rchas Burberry Outlet e of its Warrnambool stake as it sought to ensure cheese supply beyond next year.
A successful Saputo takeover would trigger a change of control clause in the agreement between WCB and Lion, although Saputo would still have to honour the supply contract until 2015.
Without Kirin’s 9.99 per cent WCB stake, Saputo is not necessarily impeded from acquiring a majority stake. But it does make Bega Cheese’s 18.8 per cent shareholding crucial to Saputo’s plans as the Montreal based company has only about 18.1 per cent of WCB so far.
Saputo is trying to get Bega to agree to sell its shares to it in the hope it would prompt other investors to accept Saputo’s $9 a share offer and give it a majority stake in WCB.