Goodman sells Champion milling to Nisshin Flour for $51m

Goodman Fielder, the unprofitable food ingredients maker, has sold its New Zealand Champion milling to Japan's Nisshin Flour Milling for $51 million.

The Australasian food manufacturer sold its Integro unit for $A170 million in August, and has been looking for a buyer of its milling unit since February after receiving unsolicited offers for both groups.

The milling sale is expected to be completed in February and includes a long-term supply contract for Goodman Fielder, which retains the business to sell flour to retailers, in-store bakeries and hot bread shops, it says.

"This transaction is another example of the successful execution of our strategy to divest non-core businesses to enable us to focus our capital and marketing expenditure and our internal resources on our core categories and brands," chief executive Chris Delaney says in a statement.

"This transaction builds on our other recent initiatives to ensure our group financial position is sufficiently strong and flexible to enable us to pursue our strategic agenda."

The food ingredients maker put Integro and its New Zealand milling units on the block after successive writedowns in the value of its business, in a bid to cut its level of debt and bolster its balance sheet.

The competitive retail environment and rising cost of raw materials has put its operation under strain and led to a rationalising of its businesses.

Goodman Fielder wrote $A42.5 million from the value of its milling operation in the 2012 financial year, and the unit made a loss before interest and tax of $A32.8 million, compared to earnings before interest and tax of $A6.2 million a year earlier.

The dual-listed shares fell 1.2 percent to 85 cents on the NZX, and have rallied 45 percent this year.

(BusinessDesk)

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