20 Oct 2009

Mixed bag of support for Silver Fern changes

6:01 am on 20 October 2009

The Silver Fern Farms meat co-operative, seeking funding as it goes through a capital restructuring process, has not attracted the level of new investment it was hoping for.

But it says it's still happy with the support from farmers for the changes, which have included the replacement of shares based on the supply of livestock with a new class of tradeable share.

Farmers holding nearly threequarters of the eligible shares have agreed to swap them for the new shares.

On top of that, farmer shareholders opted to buy more than 22 million additional shares, to provide new funding to reduce bank debt and for commercial development.

Silver Fern concedes that that's at the lower end of the response it was hoping for. But chief executive Keith Cooper says having the 74% buy-in to the new share structure sets it up for the future.

Silver Fern has also sold the 10 million shares it owned in PGG Wrightson. That was part of a compensation settlement made when it defaulted on a deal to buy a 50% stake in the meat co-op.

The shares went for between 73 - 79 cents each.