29 Feb 2012

Singapore firm builds stake in Goodman Fielder

7:12 am on 29 February 2012

Shares in Goodman Fielder shot up 27% on the New Zealand stock exchange on Tuedsay after a foreign buyer claimed a significant stake in the firm.

The Australasian food company says Singapore palm oil company Wilmar International is trying to build a 10% stake.

It says Wilmar already has a 5% stake and has been involved in looking at non-core assets that Goodman Fielder is looking to sell.

Goodman Fielder was keen to play the acquisition down, saying in a statement that it hasn't received any takeover offers, but Wilmar says it's still deciding whether to increase its stake.

Hamilton Hindon Greene director, Grant Williamson, says there is a lot of market speculation about the company's intentions.

"Obviously trying to get a bigger stake in the firm at this stage anyway. But it could very well be the case that the sale of the parts of Goodman Fielder is worth more than the whole company."

Nomura food analyst David Cook says Wilmar may be interested in Goodman Fielder's Integro and milling businesses.

Goodman Fielder's brands in New Zealand include Meadowlea, Vogels and Edmonds.

The company made $A42.9 million in the final six months of last year - less than half what it made in the same period a year earlier.

Goodman Fielder's shares rose 18 cents to close at 85 cents on Tuesday.