ADM increases bid price for Australia’s GrainCorp

by Jeff Gelski
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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Archer Daniels Midland Co. on Dec. 3 said it had made a revised non-binding proposal designed to acquire GrainCorp Ltd., an agribusiness based in Australia. ADM, Decatur, Ill., now seeks to buy all of GrainCorp for A$12.20 ($12.72) per share in cash, which is up from a previous bid of A$11.75 per share made on Oct. 19.

ADM on Dec. 3 also said it had acquired an additional 5% of GrainCorp’s outstanding shares for cash at A$12.20 per share. ADM has received approval from the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board to acquire up to 19.9% of the shares in GrainCorp.

The new bid of A$12.20 comes after GrainCorp on Nov. 15 reported results for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. The company’s EBITDA rose 18% to A$414 million from A$30 million in the previous fiscal year, and shareholders received a dividend of A$0.35 per share. Under the new ADM bid, GrainCorp shareholders may keep the dividend.

The new bid represents nearly a 40% premium to the last closing price of GrainCorp shares of A$8.74 per share on the Australia Stock Exchange on Oct. 18.

“We consider that our revised non-binding proposal reflects the value of GrainCorp’s business, taking into account GrainCorp’s 2012 results, its new initiatives announced on Nov. 15, and its recently announced ordinary and special dividends totaling A$0.35,” said Patricia Woertz, chairman and chief executive officer of ADM. “Our proposal also offers more certainty, greater value and immediate realization of potential future value for GrainCorp shareholders than GrainCorp’s stand-alone plan.”

ADM previously held an economic interest in 4.9% of GrainCorp before pushing it up to 14.9% on Oct. 19 through acquiring an additional 10% at a price of A$11.75 per share.

The Oct. 19 bid from ADM was turned down on Nov. 15 by GrainCorp., which said the bid undervalued the company. GrainCorp handles about 75% of eastern Australia’s annual grain production, handles about 90% of eastern Australia’s bulk grain exports, produces about 35% of Australia’s malt and produces about 40% of Australia’s crude canola oil and refined edible oils.
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