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Wilmar Open to Selling 10% Stake in Goodman Fielder

Wilmar International Ltd., the world’s largest palm oil processor, said it’s open to selling its stake in Goodman Fielder Ltd. after the Australian breadmaker rejected an offer as too low.

Shares in Goodman Fielder, Australia’s largest baker, rose the most on record Feb. 28 after Wilmar said it had paid A$115 million ($120 million) for a tenth of the company and was deciding whether to increase its holding.

A bid for Goodman Fielder, with a current market valuation of A$1.09 billion, would have been the biggest takeover by the Singapore-based company since it announced a $1.54 billion bid for Australian sugar company Sucrogen Ltd. in 2010. Goodman Fielder has been squeezed by a price war between Woolworths Ltd. and Wesfarmers Ltd.-owned Coles, which together comprise about 80 percent of Australia’s supermarket sector, and by wheat prices that have risen 33 percent this year.

“We were planning to make a bid but our price was lower than what the board wanted,” Kuok Khoon Hong, Wilmar’s chief executive officer, said in a briefing in Singapore today. “The price went further and they still wanted the same price, so we decided not to do anything about it.”

Wilmar would be prepared to sell its stake “at a good price”, he said.

Goodman Fielder is currently trading at 55.5 Australian cents, about 4 percent below the price Wilmar paid, having jumped 13 percent in the past two days after saying it was in exclusive talks with a bidder for its Integro oils and fats unit, with a deal expected by the end of August.

Wilmar wasn’t in the bidding for Integro, Kuok said.

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