A NUMBER of potential bidders have emerged for Saputo’s Koroit factory in Victoria’s Western District.

Those showing interest in Saputo’s newly acquired — but soon to be divested — Koroit milk powder plant are Bega Cheese, Burra Foods and Moon Lake, among others.

The factory was acquired as part of the $1.31 billion purchase of Murray Goulburn’s business last month, but the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has required the Canadian company to sell it by an undisclosed date.

The Weekly Times understands a group of Russian businessmen based in the US visited the Koroit factory last week, but sources have told The Weekly Times the Russians were interested in buying butter, which is one of the manufacturing lines at Koroit, rather than the factory.

A source said a number of potential buyers had been looking over the Koroit factory during the past week.

The Weekly Times understands Grant Crothers’ Burra Foods and its Chinese partner Inner Mongolia Fuyuan Farming inspected the Koroit factory last week.

Moon Lake is understood to have visited the plant on Thursday and Bega Cheese on Friday.

Moon Lake, run by Chinese businessman Xianfeng Lu, was used to buy the Van Diemen’s Land Company dairy farms in northwest Tasmania in 2015.

But five of its independent directors quit the board in late April over governance and expenditure issues.

Australian Consolidated Milk and Union Dairy Company are also believed to be interested in buying the plant.

Union Dairy Company is a 70:30 joint venture between Colin McKenna’s Midfield Group and French commodity trader Louis Dreyfus through Riddoch Holdings Pty Ltd.

Bega Cheese chairman Barry Irvin and Mr Crothers did not respond to The Weekly Times before it went to press.

A spokesman for Saputo said the company “had no update at this time”.

Article sourced from www.weeklytimesnow.com.au