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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Warrnambool to double H1 profit on strong dairy demand, (TSE: SAP.TO)

Australia's Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Holdings Co, the company at the centre of one of the country's most hotly contested takeover battles in recent years, said on Friday it will double its first-half earnings. Warrnambool, which is backing a bid from Canada's Saputo Inc , said strong international dairy demand and pricing, a falling Australian dollar and an improved product mix were driving profits.Chairman Terry Richardson said the first half would provide a "robust foundation" for the balance of the year.Earnings before interest, tax and depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in the six months to Dec. 31 would rise around 100 percent from A$29.3 million ($25.94 million) in the previous corresponding half, the company said. Full-year EBITDA is pegged at between A$47 million and A$52 million, compared with A$25.5 million.Saputo earlier this week increased its unconditional cash offer of A$515 million to as much as A$549 million if it receives acceptances of 90 percent or more of Warrnambool shareholders.

Saputo Inc. produces, markets and distributes an array of dairy products in Canada, the United States, Argentina and Europe, as well as bakery products in Canada. Shares of SAP traded higher by 0.58% or $0.28/share to $48.26. In the past year, the shares have traded as low as $46.01 and as high as $54.62. On average, 279216 shares of SAP.TO exchange hands on a given day and today's volume is recorded at 154123.