22 Jul 2015

Meetings on meat mergers

6:48 am on 22 July 2015

The two big meat co-operatives will both have to hold meetings of their farmer shareholders to discuss getting an independent assessment of merger options.

Farmer groups associated with Silver Fern Farms and the Alliance Group have been seeking the minimum five percent shareholder support needed to call special general meetings.

The Silver Fern Farms group reached its target earlier this month, while the Alliance shareholder group said it also had the support it needed to call a special meeting to ask the board to provide a full analysis of the potential benefits and risks of the two co-ops merging.

Promoter Southland farmer Jeff Grant said they had had strong support for the call.

"About 10 percent of the shareholding has already indicated that they would support the resolution of the meeting.

"We've sent in proxies covering about 7 percent, just to make sure we've got enough to cover any mistakes or problems they have with the proxy forms.

"The resolution, while it talks about amalgamation, is really asking for the board to look at the benefits and risks around a merger.

"And the outcome, which has to be a commercial solution, may show that they're better to look at joint ventures in terms of the synergy in procurement, processing, or marketing - or any associated activities, in our view".

Mr Grant said Alliance would check the proxy forms to make sure they complied, and then he expects to discuss arrangements with the company for holding the special meeting.

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