"> Bega Cheese calls in old hands for Lion Dairy and Drinks - eDairyNews-EN
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Bega Cheese has got the band back together for its tilt at Lion Dairy and Drinks.

But ASX-listed Bega Cheese is getting the band back together for its tilt at Lion’s up-for-sale (again) dairy and drinks division.

Street Talk can reveal Bega has re-called Melbourne corporate advisory outfit Kidder Williams and Sydney law firm Addisons to help it run the rule over the business – which is the same team that helped Bega when the division first came to market in November 2018.

That auction process – run by Deutsche Bank – was shelved by Lion Dairy and Drinks-owner Kirin, and revived a year later in September 2019 to see China Mengniu Dairy sign a $600 million agreement.

However, The Australian Financial Review revealed earlier this month that Treasurer Josh Frydenberg had blocked that sale on national interest grounds, sending Kirin back to the drawing board.

Bega was fingered as a potential acquirer – and possible Kirin saviour – this week and just about confirmed those intentions on an earnings call on Thursday for its 2020 financial year results, when asked by Morgans analyst Belinda Moore.

It would be a chunky acquisition for the $1 billion Bega, which was sitting on $236 million net debt as at June 30.

However, it’s worth remembering that China Mengniu’s $600 million bid landed in September, when the economy and capital markets were a pretty different place. That $600 million price tag now appears pretty toppy.

If Bega did pull the trigger on an acquisition, it would be expected to ask shareholders to chip into an equity raising to help fund the bid.

A dairy checkoff group says holiday demand for butter is strong this year. Suzanne Fanning with Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin tells Brownfield sales have not fallen since the start of the pandemic.

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