Goodman Fielder’s fat sale blocked

Australasian food giant Goodman Fielder may be forced to hold on to its edible fats and oils business sale to Cargill Australia after the regulator across the Tasman said it would oppose the deal.

The $A240 million deal would lead to a “significant concentration of refining assets in Australia”, with just a small number of competing refiners offering a wide range of fats and oils products, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The food company announced in December that the business, which processes edible fats and oils and supplies food manufacturers and wholesalers in both Australia and New Zealand, was to be sold to international food company Cargill.

Goodman Fielder announced plans to sell the business early in 2009 and revealed it was negotiating with potential buyers in October.

It responded to the ACCC announcement by saying it was considering the implications and that if the issue would not be resolved, it would retain ownership of the business.

Managing director Peter Margin said the oils and fat business was still fundamentally strong, but had been on hold for the 12 month sale process.

Goodman Fielder is the largest refiner of edible fats and oils in Australia, supplying products such as margarines, oils blends, bakery fats and liquid oils, while Cargill Australia is also a refiner of edible fats and oils and is the largest supplier of crude oils to Australian edible fats and oils refiners.

The acquisition would have added four processing plants, including one in Auckland, to Cargill’s facility in Newcastle.

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