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United Malt agrees AU$1.5 billion takeover by InVivo

Australia’s United Malt has accepted a takeover offer from Malteries Soufflet, part of French company InVivo, in a deal that could create the world’s biggest malt producer.

United Malt, the world’s fourth-largest commercial maltster, with processing plants in Australia, Canada, the US and UK, has agreed a takeover deal with Malteries Soufflet which already operates 28 malt houses across Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa.

The acquisition is part of a strategy by InVivo (the parent company of Malteries Soufflet) to become the world’s top malt producer within five years.

InVivo acquired Soufflet last year and agreed in January to take over Belgian malthouse Castle Malting.

The United Malt takeover will double the size of InVivo’s malt business three years earlier than planned, InVivo chief executive Thierry Blandinieres told Reuters in March when the offer was first made.

The AU$1.5 billion deal, subject to approval by Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board and United Malt’s shareholders, will see InVivo become the top global producer and supplier of bulk malt for brewers, craft brewers, distillers and food companies.

Graham Bradley, United Malt chairman, said in a statement that the company’s board believed the AU$1.5 billion offer appropriately reflected the value of its asset portfolio and the anticipated improvement in its near-term earnings outlook.

Shares of United Malt jumped 9.1% to AU$4.8 following the takeover announcement. The stock was the top percentage gainer on the benchmark index.

United Malt sourced its malt from some of the finest barley-growing regions across the world, including the Scottish Highlands, Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains and the Goondiwindi in New South Wales, Australia.

In January, the drinks business reported that brewers were stockpiling malt to escape being stung by price hikes of 40% to 50% for the grain. Malt is just one of many ingredients crucial to beer-making which has shot up in price, forcing many craft brewers to wind up their businesses this year.


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