25 Feb 2013

Kiwifruit industry merger fails

6:26 am on 25 February 2013

A proposed kiwifruit industry merger between two post-harvest operators has fallen just short of getting the required support.

The boards of Satara and EastPack, who pack kiwifruit for sale, asked their growers and investors to back a merger on Friday. The industry is struggling in the face of a high exchange rate and falling supply due to the PSA vine disease.

EastPack shareholders were 97% in favour of the merger.

There were five voting groups within Satara which were asked to vote and four of those five were also strongly in favour of a merger.

But growers who supply Satara with kiwifruit gave the proposed merger only 74.8% support - just 0.2% shy of the 75% required.

Satara chairman Hendrik Pieters said he's very disappointed that one group within the company effectively blocked the merger.

He said both companies will assess the results before making a decision on whether to ask their shareholders to vote again on a merger.