Wilmar and HK partner get China nod for $1.4 billion takeover of Goodman Fielder

SINGAPORE - Mainboard-listed agribusiness giant Wilmar International said on Monday that China has given the green light to a A$1.34 billion (S$1.41 billion) takeover of Goodman Fielder by a consortium comprising itself and Hong Kong investment manager First Pacific Company.

The deal to acquire the Australian food manufacturer, first announced in July last year, was granted approval by the anti-monopoly bureau of China's Ministry of Commerce, Wilmar said.

It added that the partners are "continuing to progress" the remaining required regulatory approval, which is the consent under the New Zealand Overseas Investment Act.

Australia's foreign investment watchdog and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission cleared the bid last year.

A shareholder meeting to vote on the consortium's offer of 67.5 cents a share will take place on Feb 26, Goodman Fielder announced in Australia on Monday.

Shares in the agribusiness company rose 4.69 per cent to 67 cents in early trade in Sydney on Monday.

The announcement came a week after the Australian firm, which owns food brands including Helga's, MeadowLea and Wonder White, reported a net profit of A$28.6 million in the six months to Dec 31, an improvement on the loss of A$64.8 million in the previous corresponding period, AFP reported.