5 Mar 2012

Raid on Goodman seen as omen

6:58 am on 5 March 2012

Goodman Fielder is in play after a surprise market raid on its register last week by palm oil group Wilmar of Singapore.

Radio New Zealand's Sydney correspondent says food companies are hot properties on global sharemarkets right now. And Goodman Fielder fits the bill nicely.

Wilmar, one of its own clients, snapped up 10% of Goodman at 60 cents per share and says it may buy more.

Goodman's brands in Australia and New Zealand include Vogel's and Helga's bread, Edmonds flour and Chesdale cheese.

But its share price has fallen nearly 60% in the past year. Wilmar is cashed-up and seen as easily being able to finance a full takeover.

The question is price. Based on current multiples, analysts are saying something closer to 70 or even 80 cents might be required.

Radio New Zealand's correspondent says there's talk that other companies are being targeted for takeovers.

A lot of industrial stocks in Australia right now, beaten-down by the strong dollar and weak retail spending.

Pacific Brands and Billabong have already been sniffed out by private equity raiders in recent months. And more are expected.

According to the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, Australian funds alone have raised $A20 billion over the past six years - most of which is sitting in cash.

Other potential targets cited include retailer David Jones, music store chain JB HI-FI and even Qantas, which was the subject of an unsuccessful private equity bid more than five years ago.