Buyers are sniffing at Murray Goulburn

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Murray Goulburn, Australia’s largest milk processor restructuring after volatility in the global dairy industry, is getting interest from potential buyers.

The company today announced a full year statutory net loss of $370.8 million on a 10.3% slide in revenue to $2.5 billion. Underlying net profit after tax was $34.7 million, down 14.5%.

The business took in 2.7 billion litres of milk over 2017, almost 22% less than the previous 12 months.

And no dividend was declared this year. Last year it was 3.91 cents a unit.

However, Murray Goulburn says it has received a number of confidential unsolicited proposals since it announced a strategic review in June this year.

“These proposals have ranged from concepts around certain non-core assets to larger proposals including whole of company transactions,” the company says.

The board has ask its adviser Deutsche Bank to seek more detailed proposals.

CEO Ari Mervis says 2017 tested the strength and resolve of Murray Goulburn and its suppliers.

“The coming months will be pivotal for the future of the business as the board and management finalise substantial business improvement programs and third parties are given an opportunity to submit formal proposals to the company,” he says.

Mervis, a former senior executive at SABMiller, the world’s second largest brewer, was appointed CEO in December.

In June, Murray Goulburn announced the closure of dairy processing centres at Edith Creek, Tasmania, and Rochester and Kiewa in Victoria with the loss of more than 300 jobs. The company also announced write-downs of $410 million.

In March, John Spark, a former managing partner at insolvency experts Ferrier Hodgson, was appointed chairman.

The 2017 numbers for Murray Goulburn:

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