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Aphria says Green Growth's offer is low; China to buy US rice for 1st time

TOP NEWS

* Cannabis producer Aphria Inc. responded to the C$2.8 billion takeover bid it received from Xanthic Biopharma Inc., which does business as Green Growth Brands, saying the unsolicited offer undervalues the company. Ontario-based Aphria said the offer is about 23% below the company's average share price based on a 20-day period. Aphria's board has established an independent committee of directors to consider the proposal and any formal offer received.

* The unpredictable trade war truce between the U.S. and China took another positive turn, as Beijing announced it would begin accepting imports of American rice for the first time, Reuters reported. China's customs authority said it had opened up its market to U.S. brown rice, polished rice and crushed rice as long as they meet Chinese and U.S. Department of Agriculture standards, the report said.

FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION

* Amazon.com Inc. plans to expand its Whole Foods Market Inc. portfolio by adding stores to cover more customers under Prime Now, its two-hour delivery service, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources. Amazon plans to roll out Prime Now to all of its 475 Whole Foods stores in the U.S., the report said, citing another source.

BEVERAGES

* Kweichow Moutai Co. Ltd. said it plans to sell about 31,000 tons of liquor in 2019, China Beverage News reported. About 17,000 tons of liquor will be supplied to distributors and the remaining will be sold through e-commerce retail channels, the report said, citing Moutai Group Chairman Li Baofang.

AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS

* Singapore-based Wilmar International Ltd. appointed Raymond Young as non-independent nonexecutive director, owing to the resignation of Juan Luciano, effective Dec. 28. Luciano will serve as an alternate director to Young.

PACKAGED FOODS

* Confectionery maker Lotte Co. Ltd. plans to invest about 130 billion Japanese yen over the next five years through fiscal 2023 in Japan for expanding supplies of its mainstay items, such as chocolate and ice cream, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. It also plans to increase exports of Japanese candy due to increasing popularity among visitors. Lotte aims to develop five brands with sales of more than 30 billion yen around fiscal 2023, the report said.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.

Most Asian markets were closed ahead of the New Year's holiday.

In Europe as of midday, FTSE 100 was down 0.14% to 6,724.79 and Euronext 100 climbed 0.18% to 914.56.

On the macro front

No notable reports are due out today.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 8 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.

Editor's note: The Daily Dose will not be published Jan. 1, 2019, because of the New Year holiday. This feature will return Jan. 2, 2019.