August 13, 2018 / 2:16 AM / 4 days ago

Australia's Capilano Honey gets $138 million bid from consortium

(Reuters) - Australia’s Capilano Honey Ltd (CZZ.AX) said on Monday a consortium of China-focused Wattle Hill RHC Fund and Roc Partners agreed to buy the company for A$189.8 million ($138 million).

The deal, which comes at a time of enormous Chinese interest Down Under, will offer the honey producer’s shareholders A$20.06 per share in cash or stock, representing a premium of 28.2 percent to the stock’s last close.

Capilano said Wroxby Pty Ltd, which currently holds a 20.6 percent stake in the company, intends to vote in favor of the deal if there is no superior bid.

Capilano shares surged as much as 27.73 percent to their highest since August 2016.

Australia has seen renewed interest from Chinese and China-focused investors across sectors, including food, healthcare and energy, amid mounting trade tensions with the United States.

Food and health scares in China, most recently reports of safety lapses in the production of a rabies vaccine, are driving Chinese customers and companies to scour the globe for reliable products.

Two Chinese firms have bid for New Zealand honey maker Manuka Health, pricing it around $300 million, Reuters reported last month.

Chinese investment has also flowed through the wine supply chain, with a flurry of relatively small purchases of Australian wine assets.

In May last year, Chinese wine distributor YesMyWine made one of the largest investments with its purchase of a 15 percent stake, and a board seat along with it, in Australian Vintage Ltd (AVG.AX), the country’s fifth-largest winemaker.

Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier

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