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Beston chases $130m IPO for global foods venture

- CAMERON ENGLAND CHIEF BUSINESS REPORTER

BESTON Global Food Company is in the final stages of putting together an initial public offer which will aim to raise $100 million to $130 million.

The Adelaide-based company recently purchased the United Dairy Power milk processing plants at Murray Bridge and Jervois, which had been shut due to the failure of the previous owners.

Director Roger Sexton said the company had also invested in South Australian lobster company Ferguson Australia, and had four major business divisions: dairy, seafood, meat and health nutrition.

As well as the recent UDP investment, Beston also owns a stake in SA organic milk producer B.-d Farm Paris Creek, a number of other dairy farms, Victorian company Scorpio Meats and Neptune Bio-Innovation­s Holdings.

Dr Sexton said the company aimed to invest about $26 million in UDP over the next three years.

The company was also looking at a number of other “bolt-on acquisitio­ns” which would complement its sales pipeline into South east and north Asia.

Beston in March employed former WorleyPars­ons head of mergers and acquisitio­ns Sean Ebert as chief executive and has a sales network with nodes in Vietnam, Thailand, Brunei and China.

The company will focus on a branded paddock-to-plate approach, and has technology which will allow it to ensure product integrity.

“We’ve got what I call my three-legged stool – invest in production assets, companies that are making great products, the second leg is locking up security of supply, and the third is direct channels to market with out own (Asian) marketing and distributi­on teams.

“Most of the expansion will be in the operating businesses such as UDP. We’ve already got a big team overseas.’’

GrainCorp chairman Don Taylor, former Santos chair- man Stephen Gerlach, Santos executive Petrina Coventry and experience­d company director and executive Jim Kouts are also on the Beston board.

The date for the IPO has not been released as yet but it has previously been reported that it will be later this year.

Dr Sexton said the company would remain based in Adelaide post-listing.

Dr Sexton’s previous ventures include the Beston Parks Accommodat­ion Trust, the largest owner and operator of caravan parks in Australia, and the Beston Wine Industry Trust.

Most of the expansion will be in the operating businesses

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