31 Jul 2009

Silver Fern Farms gets the shareholder OK it sought

10:06 pm on 31 July 2009

The Silver Fern Farms meat co-operative has won the support it needed from its farmer shareholders, and can now carry out its capital restructuring plan.

Silver Fern chairperson Eoin Garden says high debt levels have restricted the company's options. But by a small margin it has secured the 75% approval it needed to change its constitution, thus allowing it to introduce new shareholding arrangements and reduce the size of its board.

Silver Fern is seeking to attract up to $128 million in investment money to reduce its reliance on bank debt and provide funding for commercial initiatives.

Only 42% of the farmers who were eligible to vote, did so.

The vote follows the failure of last year's proposed merger with rural services provider PGG Wrightson.

Silver Fern Farms says it has been debt-funded for many years and needs more shareholder equity in the business.