Lion ramps up sales pitch

05 Nov, 2018 10:49 AM
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 Lion released a two-page teaser document to potential buyers on Wednesday, detailing the market share of Lion brands.
There might be parts of the business that we might be able to scoop up.
Lion released a two-page teaser document to potential buyers on Wednesday, detailing the market share of Lion brands.

Lion has ramped up the sale of its Australian dairy and drinks division, releasing a pitch to potential buyers.

The Australian Financial Review reports Lion released a two-page teaser document to potential buyers on Wednesday, detailing the market share of Lion brands.

The AFR also touted Australia's largest processor Saputo as a lead contender.

But Saputo is playing its cards close to its chest.

Lino Saputo Jr was guarded when questioned after the release of Saputo's second-quarter results in Canada on Thursday about his interest in Lion.

He acknowledged Saputo's size and reach in the Australian market could be an issue.

"There might be parts of the business that we might be able to scoop up," he said.

"Again depending on the region and where their plants are, we might have too much concentration, a little bit like what we did when we looked at the MG (Murray Goulburn) assets, we knew there would be an issue in the Allansford-Koroit area."

He would not reveal if Saputo was looking at Lion.

"I am not saying if we are in or out of any files," Mr Saputo said.

"But if we ever do look at files we have to mindful of the fact of what our size is in the region, what our milk take is not only within the country but different dairy-producing sectors."

Mr Saputo said the company now had a better understanding of how the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission evaluated proposals.

"We have a lot more knowledge today than we did even a year ago," he said.

The AFR said Coca-Cola Amatil was also interested and was expected to team up with its American parent - global drinks giant The Coca-Cola Company - in assessing the potential acquisition.

The AFR reported sources saying Lion's bankers had already started signing parties to non-disclosure agreements, paving the way for the release of confidential information.

The sales flyer released on Wednesday told potential buyers Lion's Dare and Farmers Union were number one in milk-based beverages with 49 per cent of the market, while Lion also had 31pc of Australia's specialty cheese market via its South Cape, King Island Dairy and Tasmanian Heritage brands.

The flyer said Lion's yoghurt brand Yoplait also had 27 per cent of its market.

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