Milk suppliers positive about Saputo deal

THE proposed Murray Goulburn takeover by Saputo is being seen as a positive move by local milk suppliers.

Denison’s Graeme Anderson said it was a good result.

“I’m looking forward to a decent price, and everything will sail forward positively,” he said.

“Until everything goes through, you can’t count your chickens until they hatch.

“Until the transaction’s gone through, we’ll keep going as we have been.”

While he did not attend the extraordinary meeting last week, Mr Anderson said he had met with chief executive Lino Saputo Junior, and noted that Saputo suppliers were treated well.

Another farmer, Newry’s Tim Dwyer, said support for the purchase was clear.

“It was a very conclusive vote — 98 per cent of farmers voted for it.

“I think everyone’s sad to lose the co-op, but optimistic going forward,” he said.

“They’re a good, ethical home for our milk going forward, and promise to be a price leader.

“Around the world they look after their farmers.

“Not voting for it would have been voting for our own demise, and it’s pleasing that loyalty’s been rewarded.”

Mr Anderson agreed, adding suppliers to other companies would be keeping an eye on what happened next.

“They know (Saputo) will have an impact on pricing — they’ll help with floor pricing,” he said.

“I think they’ll be a good competitor, and if they’re looking for more or retaining milk, they’ll have to pay a competitive price, and with Bega saying they’ll keep the same price until the end of August, that gives us a fair idea.”

In a statement issued to the Gippsland Times, Lino Saputo Jr said the company was “delighted” by the vote, and expected the transaction would be finalised by May 1.

“We are committed to contributing to the sustainability of the Australian dairy industry and look forward to building strong relationships with our suppliers by treating them fairly, with respect and loyalty,” he said.

“We now await the Foreign Investment Review Board’s decision.”