21 Sep 2011

Fay-led group bids for all 16 Crafar farms

5:57 am on 21 September 2011

A group of farmers headed by Sir Michael Fay has tabled a new offer for the Crafar dairy farms.

Sixteen central North Island farms owned by the Crafar family were put into receivership in 2009 with debts of more than $200 million.

The farms are being managed by receivers KordaMentha, which earlier this year accepted an offer - conditional on Overseas Investment Office (OIO) approval - for the properties from the Pengxin International Group.

A group headed by Sir Michael previously indicated an interest in nine of the farms. Now more central North Island farmers, including local iwi interests, have joined an offer of just over $171 million for all 16 properties.

Sir Michael says the group has made a top-of-the-market offer, with no OIO complications for the receivers or the banks.

He told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme the amount may be less than that offered by the Chinese group, but it is hard to compare the bids.

"There's only been media speculation on the Chinese contract - no one's actually seen it and no one knows the amount other than the numbers in the paper."

Sir Michael says a lot of work went into ensuring the offer was a fair market price.