SunRice’s potential listing on ASX provokes shareholder fears

Shareholders of SunRice, one of Australia’s largest exporters of processed branded food products, have raised concerns over the potential foreign ownership of the company should it be listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).

Corporate changes will be voted on next week at the company’s annual general meeting, however SunRice will not disclose when growers will be able to vote on a proposal to list on the ASX, ABC Rural reports.

“We've said to our people very clearly, we're not going to go to you unless we think we've got something that will be suitable for you,” said SunRice chairman, Gerry Lawson.

Werribee farmer, Julian Manegazzo said that SunRice could be vulnerable to a takeover bid due as he believes that the company is undervalued.

"Ebro made us an offer a couple of years ago for $5.02 and the majority of owner-shareholders went for that,” said Manegazzo.

"We could get an $8, $9, $10 takeover offer and we could lose the company.

"The way I would protect it is by getting the share value high. I don't want to see overseas interests takeover of SunRice."

The importance of keeping the Nation’s food processing companies in Australian hands has been a highly sensitive topic of late. The proposed takeover of GrainCorp by US agribusiness giant – Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) has fuelled the debate with Nationals leader, Warren Truss stating that Australia could eventually lose control of its Agribusiness sector.

“It now faces another critical test. The government must deal with the proposed takeover of Australia’s largest listed agribusiness, GrainCorp, by Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) – a US giant that is the second largest grain business in the world,” said Truss.

“This bid would mean that every grain export facility in Queensland, NSW, SA and all but half of one in Victoria, would be foreign owned.”


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