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Freedom Foods focuses on Shepparton

By Geoff Adams

The Shepparton dairy factory operated by Freedom Foods is destined to get about $100 million in investment if a share offer is successful.

Freedom Foods announced this week it was embarking on a $130 million equity raising offer for the group.

Freedom Foods CEO, Rory Macleod, said the new equity raising announced by Freedom Foods has the company’s Shepparton plant as the primary focus. ‘‘Of the $130 million to be raised, $100 million will be invested in a further and accelerated upgrade of the Shepparton facility.

‘‘Customers are increasingly recognising the companys broad range of UHT capabilities housed at our Shepparton site as well as the Ingleburn plant in Sydney,’’ Mr Macleod said.

‘‘So at a testing time for the dairy industry, Freedom is lifting the size of its milk pool to more than 400 million litres next financial year as the company takes an industry-leading role to meet the greater demand for UHT dairy products in Australia, Southeast Asia and China.’’

He said Shepparton was also key to their ability to value-add, and ther new investment plans for the Nutritional ingredients business will help meet the strong demand as they expand capacity and extend into new protein streams.

‘‘We firmly believe this continuing investment demonstrates our commitment to Shepparton and the broader region as it secures jobs and supports the local dairy industry.”

The equity raising is split between an offer of one new share for every existing 18 Freedom Food shares and an institutional placement of new shares at an offer price of $4.80 per new share to raise about $65 million.