Fonterra gets A$103M of warranty claims over Brownes

By Paul McBeth

Nov. 2 (BusinessDesk) - Dairy exporter Fonterra Cooperative Group has had to make a late amendment to its offer document for its controversial shareholders' fund after the buyer of its Western Australian business lodged A$103 million of warranty claims just days after the prospectus was launched.

Fonterra received notice on Oct. 31 from the buyer of its former WA business Peters and Brownes, after the offer document was issued, it said in an emailed statement. The cooperative broke up the Australian business it bought in 2011 from Heinz Watties, selling Peters to Nestle and Brownes to private equity firm Archer Capital.

"Fonterra has not yet been able to fully analyse the substance, extent or materiality of the claims," the cooperative said. "If the claims are not resolved through the agreed dispute resolution process, they may become the subject of litigation, which Fonterra will defend."

Despite adding the dispute, the amendments to the offer document say there are no legal proceedings or arbitrations expected to have a material impact on the shareholders fund.

Earlier today, Fonterra said separately it signed an investment agreement with Yutian County to develop two more large-scale dairy farms in the Hebei Province, completing its five-farm hub. The two extra farms will house some 3,350 milking cows and add 65 million litres of milk a year once fully operational.

At full capacity, the hub will produce about 150 million litres a year, and is part of Fonterra's plan to produce 1 billion litres of high quality milk in China by 2020.



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