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Ljubljanske Mlekarne Management Endorses Takeover by Dukat

Ljubljana, 26 April (STA) - The management of the Ljubljanske mlekarne dairy endorsed on Friday the takeover by Croatia's Dukat, arguing that the move will create extensive synergies while not affecting employees at the company.

Assessing the bid on the basis of the takeover prospectus, the management of Slovenia's biggest dairy said in a statement published in the daily Delo that major changes in business policy or employment policy were not to be expected after the takeover.

Moreover, the management cites the prospectus in saying that the bidder wants to expand operations in Central and Eastern Europe and across product lines.

The statement comes a week after Dukat published a takeover bid for the 49.7% of Ljubljanske mlekarne that it does not already own.

The management of Ljubljanske mlekarne had no previous agreement with Dukat on the takeover. Meanwhile, today's statement says that the only management member to hold shares in the dairy has decided to sell to Dukat.

The Croatian company is offering EUR 8.75 per share, valuing the entire company at just over EUR 38m. The offer is valid through 20 May.

Dukat, a part of the French group Lactalis, acquired the majority stake in Slovenia's biggest dairy last month for an undisclosed sum.

According to law, Dukat was obligated to publish a takeover bid for the outstanding stock, offering at least as much as it paid for the majority stake.

The Croatian company bought the majority stake after a consortium of Slovenian cooperatives failed with its EUR 6.5 per share offering.

Ljubljanske mlekarne processes 200 million litres of milk per year and employs a 500-strong workforce at three locations in Slovenia and one in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The acquisition strengthens Lactalis's presence in SE Europe, where it is already one of the biggest players in the industry.

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