Farmers who supplied milk to the failed New Zealand Dairies company in Canterbury should know by next month whether they are to become Fonterra suppliers.
The Commerce Commission has issued a preliminary statement of issues it considers important in deciding whether to give Fonterra clearance to buy the Russian-owned Studholme milk processing plant, which was put into receivership in May.
The competition watchdog says Fonterra's milk price setting will be a key issue, and it'll consider whether the 27 suppliers would continue to have alternative options to Fonterra, if the co-op acquired the plant.
The commission will accept public submissions until Friday next week and expects to make its final decision by the end of August.
Fonterra filed its application for clearance a fortnight ago, saying its acquisition of New Zealand Dairies would increase by 2% its 82% share of the South Island raw milk supply.