Australia-based soft drink producer and bottler Coca-Cola Amatil has launched a takeover offer for the canned food group SPC Ardoma (SPCA). The offer values SPC at around A$500m.

Under the proposed deal, shareholders in SPCA will be offered a cash consideration of A$2.05 per share while retaining a fully franked dividend of A$0.03 cash per share from SPCA, valuing the ordinary equity in the food company at A$480.6m.

Alternatively, SPCA shareholders may elect to receive all or part of their consideration as new CCA shares.

The proposed acquisition has been unanimously recommended by SPCA directors in the absence of a more favourable proposal, a statement said.

The acquisition is now subject to the approval of SPCA shareholders and the court.

In a statement, Terry Davis, managing director of CCA, said: "We have seen a growing trend by Australian consumers to increasingly look for health and wellbeing products that also fit in with an increasingly busy lifestyle. This has been particularly evident in our beverage business with the growth of bottled water, diet soft drinks and fresh juice.

"The acquisition of SPCA provides an opportunity for CCA to complement its existing beverage business with leading brands in the ready to eat packaged fruit sector. There is clear evidence of the growth potential for this area by the success of innovative re-sealable fridge fruit packs and single serve fruit snack packs," Davis said.

"CCA brings a strong track record of product and packaging innovation, logistics, supply chain management and key customer relationships to the SPCA business. SPCA has made excellent progress in developing and improving the profitability of its business over the past three years, following the successful 2001 merger of SPC and Ardmona Foods. We are pleased that SPCA's managing director, Nigel Garrard has agreed to continue to lead the SPCA business within CCA.

"The entry into this sector by CCA backed by our commitment to drive innovation will provide greater opportunity for Australian fruit and vegetable growers and give consumers a wider choice of ready to eat packaged fruit and vegetables," Davis concluded.

SPCA chairman, David Meiklejohn, said: "CCA's proposal also represents a very attractive premium and, depending on the price of CCA shares at completion, the CCA share alternative has the potential to further increase the value of the proposal to our shareholders.

"With the recommendation by SPCA's board of the CCA proposal, the directors have ceased discussions with other parties who had expressed interest in acquiring SPCA," Meiklejohn said.