Soufflet launches takeover bid for United Malt Group

Grain Central, March 29, 2023

A TAKEOVER bid from France’s Soufflet is in the wind for ASX-listed company and the world’s fourth-largest maltster, United Malt Group.

UNITED Malt Group (UMG) yesterday announced it has entered into a process and exclusivity deed with Malteries Soufflet SAS, the largest commercial maltster in Europe and the second-largest maltster in the world.

If successful, the bid would create the world’s largest maltster.

At the close of trading on Friday, UMG shares closed at A$3.44, while the indicative proposal is for $5 cash per share.

Soufflet was acquired in 2021 by the InVivo Group, which has its origins in French agricultural cooperatives established in the 1940s, and in recent decades has expanded into sectors including agricultural supply, animal feed, and wine.

UMG was the result of a demerger by GrainCorp in 2020, and its board supports the Soufflet bid.

UMG has granted Malteries Soufflet the opportunity to conduct due diligence on an exclusive basis for a 10-week period which is expected to end in June.

In Australia, UMG owns Barrett Burston Malting, a leading supplier of malt to industrial and craft brewers, with malthouses located at Pinkenba in Queensland, Geelong in Victoria, and Welshpool in Western Australia.

UMG also owns New Zealand’s Cryer Malt, Canada Malting and Great Western Malting in North America, and Bairds Malt in the UK.

UMG has 12 processing plants globally, an annually produces around 1.25 million tonnes of malt.

Malteries Soufflet runs a total of 28 malthouses in Europe , Latin America, Asia and Africa, and has an annual malt production capacity of 2.36Mt.

Soufflet’s buyout of UMG would put all of Australia’s large-scale malting production in French hands.

France-based European grain cooperative Axéréal owns Boortmalt which has an annual malting capacity of 3Mt and is the world’s largest maltster.

In Australia, Boortmalt owns the six former Joe White Maltings plants,  and Malteurop, owned by VIVESCIA, operates its only Australian maltings in North Geelong.

Source: UMG, InVivo, Boortmalt, Malteurop


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