Goodman Fielder eyes the price

Food group Goodman Fielder is looking at smaller acquisition opportunities created by the worldwide financial crisis, according to marketing director, Peter Margin.

The trans-Tasman company has bought four companies in the past 15 months and has done most of its refinancing already, resulting in reasonably conservative gearing.

In March and April it refinanced $750 million of debt. “The credit crunch has probably provided more opportunities,” Margin said. However substantial acquisitions of around $1 billion are difficult in the current climate, he explained.

“The smaller acquisitions – in the $100 million to $200 million area – we’re reasonably comfortable with our current profile. “We would envision those sorts of acquisitions. If the right opportunity is there, we’ll do it. The climate will probably throw up some opportunities that weren’t there. We’ve got a watching brief on a few businesses that we’ve had in play.”

In the next three to five years Goodman Fielder was most interested in buying businesses in Australia followed by NZ, Margin said.

The company was also interested in PNG, where it already has a flour business. The possibility of a global recession would keep food commodity prices subdued for the next couple of years, Margin said.

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