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National Foods buys Dairy Farmers

SYDNEY, August 26 – National Foods, a unit of Japanese brewing giant Kirin, has acquired Australia\’s Dairy Farmers co-operative for 910 million Australian dollars (782 million US), the companies confirmed Tuesday.

The acquisition of the Australian milk, cheese and yoghurt cooperative comes as Japan\’s second-largest beer maker seeks to expand its business outside of its shrinking home market.

"National Foods has the capability and financial strength to leverage the acquisition of ACF to create new business opportunities domestically and in the vitally important Asian region," said National Foods managing director Ashley Waugh.

Ian Langdon, chairman of the Australian Co-operative Foods Limited (ACF), which trades as Dairy Farmers, welcomed the move.

The offer, endorsed unanimously by the Dairy Farmers board, will go to a shareholder vote later this year. It represents a cash consideration of 5.65 Australian dollars per share for the cooperative\’s 2,000-plus farmer shareholders.

The Japanese company is paying 12.8 times 2008 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, the company said.

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