23 Jul 2008

Alliance declares meat merger industry dead

9:52 pm on 23 July 2008

South Island meat co-operative Alliance says a meat industry merger is dead despite industry hopes that a deal could be back on the table.

Silver Fern Farms, formerly known as PPCS, says layoffs on Tuesday at meat plant in Belfast, near Christchurch, and an injection of capital may revive the deal, which fell apart last year.

But Alliance says even a smaller collaboration is not helped by a merger proposal involving Silver Fern Farms and PGG Wrightson. It sees PGG Wrightson as a competitor.

However, farmer group Meat Industry Action is still pushing hard for a merger.

The group has gathered the signatures it needs from 5% of the shareholders to formally request the companies hold special general meetings to discuss a merger.

They will consider a resolution to set up merger talks under an independent person.

The group's chairman, John Gregan, says it hopes this will overcome the atmosphere of distrust that has built up between the two co-operatives.