IT’S crunch time in the United Dairy Power auction, with almost all final bids now sitting in front of receiver PPB Advisory.
Nanjing Night Net

The dairy processor fell into PPB’s hands in November, when Hong Kong businessman William Hui failed to stump up further capital to support the business. Mr Hui acquired the group for $70 million in February 2014.

Australia’s biggest dairy exporter, Murray Goulburn, is in the race but is understood not to be interested in all of the assets. Canadian heavyweight Saputo again stated its intent to pursue acquisitions in Australia at its quarterly earnings update last week.

Saputo snared Warrnambool Cheese and Butter last year after a fierce bidding war with Bega Cheese and Murray Goulburn. However, Saputo is understood to be sitting on the sidelines in the UDP process.

There has been some interest from offshore, but it is unclear if anyone is keen to bid for the entire business or just wants to pick off individual assets. The facilities come with a reputation for being old plants that Japan’s Lion could not get to work. The milk supply is valuable in a market fighting fiercely for farmers’ milk, but some players think they can win the suppliers over without needing to go through UDP.

Sources said if the plants do sell, they will probably get prices closer to asset values rather than multiples.

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