No relief for Rochester factory in Saputo deal

By Rodney Woods on November 21, 2017
  • No relief for Rochester factory in Saputo deal

    Saputo’s chief executive officer has ruled out reversing the closure of Murray Goulburn’s Rochester site if the company’s bid to take over the co-operative is successful.

Saputo’s chief executive officer has ruled out reversing the closure of Murray Goulburn’s Rochester site if the company’s bid to take over the co-operative is successful.

Lino Saputo, who is also the chairman of the company’s board, said seven plants would stay which did not include Rochester or Kiewa.

‘‘We have no intentions to open Rochester. We are having seven operating plants and Kiewa is not in those plans,’’ Mr Saputo said.

‘‘There is no promise to keep it open.’’

Mr Saputo said the company, if successful, would offer leading milk prices, honour the staff currently operating the plants and further enhance Murray Goulburn’s existing infrastructure.

Mr Saputo talked to shareholders and suppliers throughout last week, with Katunga dairy farmer and Murray Goulburn supplier Christine Poort coming out of a meeting at the Barooga Sports Club satisfied with what she had heard.

‘‘I came out relieved. Lino was good to listen to — he’s very positive,’’ Mrs Poort said.

‘‘He backed up what he said the other night on ABC (Country Hour).’’

Mrs Poort said she went into the meeting looking to see how her family would benefit from the potential sale as the thought of changing processors did cross her mind.

‘‘We went in looking for a better pay result and for something to happen to help them (Murray Goulburn). Something had to happen to get them out of the trouble they were in,’’ she said.

‘‘We already knew Saputo were going to take them over but wanted to know what they were going to do for us.’’

When the news broke that Murray Goulburn’s board had agreed to the Saputo offer, Mrs Poort was happy with the announcement.

‘‘We didn’t go to the AGM. We were sent the email here at home and after reading it carefully we were happy that someone has come in to save us,’’ she said. ‘‘I hope all farmers vote for this.’’

Despite being all for the Saputo takeover, Mrs Poort said it should not have gone this far.

‘‘The only thing I’m really mad about is they shouldn’t have let it get this far. The right people are in the right places now but it is too late,’’ she said.

By Rodney Woods on November 21, 2017

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