MURRAY Goulburn shareholder Bernard Lubitz has proposed dairy farmers band together to buy the ailing company’s Koroit factory.
Mr Lubitz, a Leongatha dairy farmer and former MG supplier, said shareholders should use the money they would receive under the plan to sell the co-operative’s assets to Canadian dairy giant Saputo Inc to buy the Koroit factory.
He did not rule out unit holders or the “broader dairy farming community” investing in the plant.
He said the factory could be placed under a company structure, which would then be listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
“The Koroit factory could be bought at book value, with or without the unit holders,” he said.
“It would be floated on the stock exchange, possibly taking about a year to do so. Those farmers could then form a new independent milk supply co-operative that would put their milk into that ASX-listed processor and we start again.”
Mr Lubitz said there had been some discussion in dairy farmer circles as they came to work out “what the world is going to be like after the co-op” goes.
He said some farmers had indicated they would not mind owning a share of the Koroit processing plant as a business investment if the Saputo deal were approved.
“After two, three, four years, if we’ve only got a dollar or 80 cents back of our capital, surely once we’ve bought that and it is a functioning company being similar to Bega, those shares have to be worth $2 or $3,” he said.
“Why can’t something be put to farmers to maximise their ongoing success and give them some control over their industry?
“We would like MG to put out a statement about this proposal to farmers before the extraordinary general meeting occurs.
“If it is received positively, we then ask MG to ask the same question of unit holders.”
Murray Goulburn would not comment on the proposal.
By: PETER HEMPHILL
Source: The Weekly Times