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Arla Foods to Use Bond Issue to Help Finance Growth Strategy

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Arla Foods to Use Bond Issue to Help Finance Growth Strategy

Arla Foods to Use Bond Issue to Help Finance Growth Strategy
June 16
12:11 2011

In order to broaden its access to finance for funding its growth strategy, Arla is giving professional investors the opportunity to invest in the company through a bond issue. The bonds will be issued in Swedish kroner and have a value of approximately SEK1.5 billion (Eur164m).

Based on a strategy of increasing the group’s turnover from the current DKr49 billion to DKr75 billion by 2015, Arla is aiming for significant growth in a number of markets. The growth will be financed through a combination of owner capital and borrowed funds.

The owner finance will be secured through the consolidation policy approved by co-operative members in the autumn of 2010 when they decided to double their investment (consolidation) in the company. The borrowed funds will come from the group’s lenders, including banks and other financial institutions.

Arla wishes to establish the broadest possible financing platform without compromising on the company’s ownership structure. As a result, Arla Foods will now issue bonds to a value of SEK 1.5 billion to supplement other financing sources.

“Arla has solid backing from its co-operative owners. Nevertheless, we also have a duty to ensure that we, as a company, have the best and broadest borrowing and financing opportunities in our pursuit of acquisitions and investments in keeping with our growth strategy,” says Frederik Lotz, chief financial officer of Arla Foods. “This is why we have decided to issue bonds as an attractive investment for institutional investors.”

The bonds will be listed in Swedish kroner on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, with a maturity of five years and with Danske Bank and Nordea as lead managers.

”We’ve chosen to issue the bonds in Swedish kroner because Sweden, one of our core markets, is a highly effective market for corporate bonds,” Frederik Lotz adds. “The target group for the issue is primarily institutional investors in Sweden, but I won’t exclude approaching other target groups later.”

Arla’s owners have confirmed that the company will remain a co-operative and not a limited company, with external investors as co-owners. The bond issue will strengthen Arla’s strategy for growth without changing the company’s ownership structure.

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