Bid for MSF Sugar confirmed

THE buy-out of Maryborough's MSF Sugar is looking likely to go ahead, after Thai company Mitr Phol officially put forward a $313 million cash bid for the company.

Mitr Phol announced its intention to make the offer a week ago, and was given until November 21 to carry out due diligence checks.

But the company has confirmed its bid ahead of schedule, offering $4.45 per share to buy out the remaining 78% of shares it has not already acquired.

According to a statement released yesterday, MSF Sugar's board of directors has unanimously recommended to shareholders that they accept the offer.

MSF Sugar chairman James Jackson said the offer was attractive financially and the Thai company would be a good long-term strategic owner.

"Mitr Phol has deep relationships with key parties in Asia and broad operational expertise to develop the MSF business going forward," he said.

The deal will mean only a handful of independent mills will be left in Australian hands, with every major sugar company except Mackay Sugar run by foreign owners.

Mitr Phol president Krisda Monthienvichienchai has moved to reaffirm his company's commitment to maintaining existing workforces, including Maryborough growers and mill staff.

"Mitr Phol believes that MSF's employees are an integral part of the business's culture, reputation and success, and our objective is to work with the company's management, employees and cane farmers to grow the business," he said.

The company has also stated it would continue to invest in MSF Sugar's milling operations, and offer incentives to growers to plant more cane and achieve higher yields.

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