Murray Goulburn’s announcement of a potential takeover from dairy giant Saputo has angered farmers and politicians alike — despite offers of price increases from the proposed deal.
The main concern voiced was about the timing of the announcement, as many suppliers found out the news on their way to Melbourne for the company’s annual general meeting.
‘‘It was extremely regrettable. The whole way along we were effectively kept in the dark,’’ Cobram East dairy farmer and Murray Goulburn supplier Paul Mundy said.
Victorian Agriculture Shadow Minister Peter Walsh agreed that the timing of the announcement could have been better.
‘‘I’m very disappointed at the processes Murray Goulburn went through to announce it,’’ Mr Walsh said.
‘‘Announcing it while they were on the way down to the AGM, was disrespectful.
‘‘Those I spoke to that were at the AGM were very angry about the way Murray Goulburn informed them.’’
Mr Mundy, who has supplied Murray Goulburn for 17 years, said the co-operative needed to take all the blame for its current situation.
‘‘It is extremely regrettable that the company has been allowed to get to where it has and that the board have made the decision that the only option was to sell,’’ Mr Mundy said.
‘‘I think a lot more could have been done a lot earlier to maintain milk flow and it appears to me that this was a pre-determined outcome from the time our new chairman started back in April.
‘‘I think it is reprehensible that anyone, whether it be an existing supplier or senior manager or any dairy industry commentary, can put the blame of the demise of a once great company ... on suppliers, who in most cases had no choice but to look after their own family farming business because Murray Goulburn didn’t look after them.
‘‘All accountability and responsibility must fall at the feet of the board and senior management,’’ he said.
Rural Bank analysis said the proposal could see Victorian farmers average $70000 extra, due to the 40¢ step-up.
‘‘The analysis was based on Dairy Australia’s Dairy Farm Monitor report,’’ Rural Bank’s Ag Answers senior analyst Matt Ough said.
‘‘I used a 10-year average where I could — herd costs, feed costs, shed costs and cash overheads. All the rest were based on the 2016-17 season,’’ Mr Ough said
Morgans’ agriculture sector analyst Belinda Moore said she hoped the deal would help farmers despite it not being an ideal situation.
‘‘As I look at it, sadly it is not a great deal by any means for unit holders. At the end of the day the situation is what it is,’’ the stockbroking analyst said.
‘‘Saputo are one of the largest dairy businesses in the world.
‘‘Immediately it is a good deal for dairy farmers having a stronger company offering higher farm gate milk prices,’’ she said.