9 Jun 2010

Fonterra to hold vote on share trading this month

12:49 pm on 9 June 2010

Fonterra's 10,500 shareholders will be sent the final version of a proposal for trading among farmers on 11 June, before they vote on it at the end of the month.

The plan to allow them to trade shares among themselves, instead of having to buy or sell them through the company, is the last and most controversial stage of Fonterra's capital restructuring programme.

Its aim is to provide a more stable capital base and eliminate what's called the redemption risk.

That's having money flowing in and out of the company as it's required to sell or buy back the shares that farmers need to match their milk supply.

The plan will also allow outside investors to buy into a fund linked to returns from farmers' shares.

After intensive consultation, the Shareholders Council has agreed that farmers should vote on the constitutional changes required at a special meeting on 30 June.

Council chair Blue Read says he's confident that it will get the 75% vote in favour that it needs, but there's still a long way to go after that.

Shareholders will be able vote by post or internet as well as at the special meeting.