Agribusiness

IFFCO ditches AA Co stake

Jon Condon, 23/02/2015

AACo_P7407The Australian Agricultural Co has lost one of its biggest shareholders, following the departure from the share registry last week of the IFFCO Poultry/Felda’s joint venture, which held a seven percent stake in the company.

UAE-based IFFCO and Malaysian business Felda sold their stake after six years on the share registry, for about $79 million. The move prompted the resignation of the companies’ representative on the AA Co board, Adil Allana.

IFFCO and Felda’s decision came just days before the official opening of AA Co’s new abattoir at Livingstone, south of Darwin, on Saturday.

Swiss fund manager UBS Group AG bought the 38 million AA Co shares unloaded by IFFCO-Felda, giving UBS a 7pc stake in the company.

IFFCO, run by Indian expatriate Feroz Allana, is a diverse manufacturer of consumer products and is also a significant exporter of red meat from India where the company is regarded as the nation’s largest meat processor. It was often seen that AA Co’s export meat sales aspirations could at some point benefit from IFFCO’s extensive international meat marketing networks.

IFFCO-Felda arrived on the AA Co share registry in 2009 when the partnership paid about $1.75 a share to buy a 15pc stake in the company held by former Elders parent company, Futuris.

The joint venture’s stake in AA Co, which had been as high as 17pc, shrank in recent years particularly when it declined to take part in the 2013 capital raising share offer.

AA Co’s largest shareholder is Bahamas-based British billionaire Joe Lewis, whose Tavistock Group now controls about 26pc of the company.

AA Co’s share price closed this afternoon at $1.56.

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