18 April 2000
&#145Dairy Crest set to see off rival’

DAIRY Crest is ready to top any rival offer for Unigates milk and cheese business, reports the Financial Times.

The newspaper reports that Dairy Crest was caught on the defensive in March by a rival bid from Scottish milk processor Robert Wiseman Dairies.

Wiseman, which made a conditional cash offer of 225 million, is expected to formally proceed with its offer on Tuesday (18 April) or Wednesday (19 April).

This includes the assumption of 100m in debt and the payment of 125m to Unigate shareholders

The FT reports that Dairy Crest is prepared to revise its bid by offering Unigate shareholders cash as well as raising its price.

Analysts estimate it is likely to increase its offer to value the business between 230m and 240m.

The original plan gave Unigate shareholders shares in an enlarged Dairy Crest group.