Healthy bid premium for palm oil producer


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The Independent Online

One of Malaysia’s biggest companies has made a knockout £1.1bn bid for New Britain Palm Oil, amid continued pressure on palm oil producers to adopt more environment-friendly methods.

The Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby, already one of the world’s biggest producers of palm oil, is offering 715p a share for the London-listed NBPO, representing a hefty 85 per cent premium to Wednesday’s close. NBPO owns plantations in Papua New Guinea and has a refinery there, as well as one in Liverpool.

NBPO’s board urged shareholders to back the bid and Malaysian company Kulim, which holds 49 per cent of NBPO’s stock, said it would support the takeover in the absence of a better offer.

Palm oil, which is growing in importance in the processed food industry, has attracted negative press because forests in South-east Asia are often clear-felled to make way for plantations. New Britain Palm Oil produces in an environment-friendly way and its position in London also gives Sime Darby a foothold in Europe, one of the fastest growing markets for the oil. NBPO shares climbed 74 per cent to 670p.