Norton Rose Fulbright advises Coles on Saputo Dairy acquisitions

Partner said deal would "improve the resilience" of the group's supply chains

Norton Rose Fulbright advises Coles on Saputo Dairy acquisitions

Norton Rose Fulbright has advised supermarket chain Coles Group on its $105-million purchase agreement for two automated milk-processing facilities from Saputo Dairy Australia.

Subject to the approval of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and other customary conditions, the purchase agreement will allow Coles to strengthen its milk production and improve its milk supply security, while facilitating further product innovation within its brand. The Saputo Dairy facilities purchased, which together have the capacity to process around 550 million litres each year, are already predominantly used to process Coles’ own brand of two-litre and three-litre jugs of milk.

In an ASX announcement, Coles Group said it had chosen Saputo Dairy’s facilities in particular because they were “state-of-the-art, delivering exceptional production efficiency and quality through highly automated processes”. The processing facilities were also located close to the supermarket chain’s distribution centres, in Laverton North, Victoria and Erskine Park, New South Wales.

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Norton Rose Fulbright advised on the corporate, property, employment, and competition aspects of the transaction. The team advising Coles was led by corporate M&A partner James Crowe and supported by partners Nick McHugh, Adrian Jones, Melinda Bell, Chris Patten, and Jeremy Wickens, special counsel Rohan Sridhar, senior associates Dietrich Marquardt, Jessica Kamleh, and Jacinta Magazzu, associates Ellen Laughton, Shantanu Joshi, Natalia Starostenko, and Xhanti Wong, and lawyer Jack Abrehart.

Ash Street, Herbert Smith Freehills, and Clayton Utz acted for Saputo Dairy Australia.

“We are pleased to have assisted Coles in finalising its agreement to purchase these two modern Australian milk production facilities,” said Crowe. “This deal is a good example of the steps major retail businesses are taking to improve the resilience of their supply chains.”

The announcement arrived closely after Norton Rose Fulbright’s expansion of its corporate M&A team with the recent appointment of private equity partner Michael O’Neill from global firm PwC.

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