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Registered: 06-2003
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Arla in talks to buy up Arla.

LONDON (Reuters) - Europe's second biggest dairy firm, Danish-Swedish Arla Foods Amba, may make a cash offer to buy out minority shareholders in Arla Foods UK Plc, Britain's biggest milk supplier, the companies said on Friday.

Shares in Arla Foods UK (LSE: ARU.L - news) , already 51 percent controlled by cooperative Arla Foods Amba, rose sharply in early trade and by 12:30 p.m. were up 11.2 percent at 65.2p, valuing the business at around 400 million pounds.

The two companies said in a joint statement that they were in talks that could lead to a cash offer being made for the 49 percent stake that Arla Foods Amba does not already own.

Arla Foods UK was formed in October 2003 when the Danish-Swedish cooperative merged its British business with Express Dairies, then Britain's second-biggest milk producer.

"Shareholders of Arla Foods UK Plc should be aware that there is no certainty that an offer will be forthcoming," the two companies said in the statement.

Arla Foods Amba is owned by about 10,600 Swedish and Danish dairy farmers.

Arla Foods Amba said it was restricted by exchange rules on mergers and acquisitions and could not provide background or additional explanations.

"I can only say that talks with our British company about an acquisition of the remainder of the shares is a natural extension of the merger between Arla Foods Plc and Express Dairies in 2003," Arla Foods Amba Chief Executive Peder Tuborgh said in a statement.

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20/10/2006, 18:45 Link to this post PM via Email   PM via Forum


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