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Dec 7, 2020

Saputo 'very active' in hunt for acquisition targets: CEO

The pandemic has given us a license to change: Saputo CEO

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The head of dairy giant Saputo Inc. has no intention of letting the pandemic uncertainty stand in the way of a potential acquisition.

Saputo Inc. Chair and Chief Executive Officer Lino Saputo Jr. said the company has ample financial firepower to make a splash in the M&A market if an attractive target comes into view.

“We’ve got financial flexibility of upwards of $3 billion for acquisitions,” Saputo Jr. said in an interview Monday. “It’s not that we haven’t been active – we’ve been very, very active in looking at files. Unfortunately, we haven’t materialized a deal since the start of the pandemic, but we are looking.”

Saputo has been relatively quiet on the acquisition front over the last two years, after striking a pair of substantial deals in Australia including the 2018 acquisition of Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co. Ltd. for $1.29 billion. That deal made Saputo the dominant player in the Australian dairy market and bolstered its access to the burgeoning Chinese market.



While Saputo remains on the hunt for other deals to increase its size and scope, Saputo Jr. said the opportunities that have crossed his desk so far this year were either a poor fit, or simply too expensive to make for a clear value proposition.

“The reason we haven’t materialized a deal is either number one, because the conditions weren’t right, or number two because the price hasn’t been right,” he said. “And so we will continue to remain disciplined in our approach to M&A.”

While a deal has yet to materialize this year, Saputo Jr. said he is confident an attractive opportunity will present itself soon enough.

“The pipeline for opportunity is very full,” he said. “I’m optimistic that somewhere down the road there will be