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Olea beaten to the punch by Frankland

FRANKLAND River Olive Company has beaten Olea Australis to a merger with Larenta Olives. Larenta chairman Mark Hohnen said Olea was “too slow off the mark”, while Frankland River Olive Company managing director David Carr said the business had “formulated its transaction” with Larenta last week and was waiting shareholder approval. Mr Carr said Frankland River had taken over total management responsibility of Larenta’s grove and would assist in its 2005 harvest. “It will allow us access to large scale, low cost, extra virgin olive oil production and positions us as one the largest agribusinesses in Australia,” he said. However, Olea Australis managing director Chris Perrott said this week that the company’s board did not believe a merger would have been in the best interests of its shareholders. “Yes, I am disappointed, we did significant work on it,” Mr Perrott said. “The anticipated savings weren’t what we first thought they would be.” Mr Perrott said there were two major factors that made the merger unviable – the two-hour distance between each site, and the requirement for fruit to be harvested at the same time.

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