MONTREAL — Saputo Inc. shares rose nearly six per cent Friday to their highest close since January following news of a $1.29-billion agreement to acquire Australia’s Murray Goulburn Co-Operative Co.The friendly takeover would be Saputo’s biggest Australian acquisition since 2014, when it bought Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory after a months-long bidding battle.Saputo said Thursday after markets closed that the Murray Goulburn deal reinforces its commitment to strengthen its presence in the Australian market.The Montreal-based cheese and dairy company’s stock (TSX:SAP) closed at $47.48, after rising $2.57 from Thursday’s close before the deal was announced.Saputo’s stock hasn’t been above $47 since February and had fallen to a 2017 low close of $39.95 in July.Murray Goulburn makes a variety of dairy products including milk, milk powder, cheese, butter and infant formula.“By acquiring a well-established industry player, (Saputo) reinforces its commitment to strengthen its presence in the Australian market,” the company said in announcing the deal Thursday.“Saputo intends to continue to invest in its Australian platform and contribute to the ongoing development of its domestic and international business.”The company said the agreement is subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals but has been unanimously recommended by Murray Goulburn’s board of directors, provided a better offer doesn’t emerge.Saputo said it expects to finance the transaction through a new bank loan. National Bank Financial (TSX:NA) and BMO Capital Markets (TSX:BMO) will be co-lead arrangers for the financing.The Australian dairy company produces products for the international market under the Devondale, Liddells and Murray Goulburn Ingredients brands.
The Cost of the Double Burden of Malnutrition, released yesterday, is the result of a partnership between the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and calculates losses in productivity, health and education in Chile, Ecuador and Mexico.While undernutrition undermines physical growth and impairs brain development, overweight and obesity can lead to non-communicable diseases such as type II diabetes, hypertension and cancer. Together, they inflict a ‘double burden’ on countries and people as they hinder the development of individuals, the well-being of communities and the goal of reaching Zero Hunger by 2030.According to the study, gross domestic product (GDP) in each country shrinks every year as a result of losses is productivity caused by this double burden. Losses are estimated at $500 million in Chile, $4.3 billion in Ecuador and $28.8 billion in Mexico, which represent respectively 0.2 per cent, 4.3 per cent and 2.3 per cent loss of GDP.“Over the last decade many middle income countries have made great inroads into reducing undernutrition. Yet the problem persists and we now witness a worrying trend among vulnerable communities with cases of undernourishment and overweight simultaneously within the same families,” said WFP Regional Director, Miguel Barreto. “The double burden of malnutrition increasingly affects the poor and vulnerable population, thus becoming another cause for the current inequality in our region,” said ECLAC Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena. The implications for the future of countries are frightening. According to the study, undernutrition is declining, but ‘overnutrition’ is expected to become the largest social and economic burden in the region. From 2014 to 2078, overweight and obesity are projected to cost on average $1 billion in Chile, $3 billion in Ecuador and $13 billion in Mexico per year respectively. The study recommends measures to mitigate this burden; governments should promote consumer education through clear policies and incentives to ensure reliable food labelling, physical activity initiatives, and the support of community-based nutrition education programmes.It encourages the food industry to work with governments to guarantee the production, availability, and accessibility of healthier food products, and to play a positive and responsible role in educating consumers on healthy food choices.