China's Bright Food sweetens takeover offer for Australia's CSR sugar unit

Shanghai municipal government-owned food producer Bright Food Group Co has today sweetened its offer for Sucrogen, the sugar and renewable energy business of Australia's CSR Ltd from A$1.5 billion to A$1.75 billion, which has made the board of CSR to mull opening its books to the Chinese food company.

Sydney-based CSR, a major building materials manufacturer with large sugar business and investments in aluminium, with operations throughout Australia, New Zealand and Asia, said today that it has received a conditional offer from Bright Food to acquire Sucrogen.

In January 2010, Bright Food's, which produces sweets, dairy, sugar and meat goods, and operates supermarkets and other retail outlets had made an offer to acquire Sucrogen from CSR for A$1.5 billion. (See: China's Bright Foods bids $1.4 billion for CSR's sugar business) 

CSR had rejected the bidthe same month, saying the bid was too low to allow it to conduct due diligence and instead planned to go ahead with its spinning off Sucrogen as a separate unit and list it in the Australian stock exchange.

In June 2009, CSR announced its intention to split into two companies, with one holding its sugar and energy businesses - to be dubbed Sucrogen - while the other will contain its building products operations.

It also raised $375 million in capital to help cover write-downs from its glass business Viridian and to lower the company's debt to under $1 billion from $1.2 billion.