6 Dec 2008

Supreme Court ends dispute over saleyards

3:45 pm on 6 December 2008

Elders has lost a long-running legal dispute with PGG Wrightson over stock saleyard ownership.

The Supreme Court has dismissed a final appeal from Elders, following rulings against it in the High Court and Court of Appeal, and ordered the company to pay costs of $15,000 to PGG Wrightson.

The dispute dates back to 2005 when Wrightson merged with Pyne Gould Guinness to form PGG Wrightson.

The merged company took over Wrightson's interests in 13 saleyards which it jointly owned with Elders. Elders entered a legal challenge to that.

The rural servicing company argued that its pre-emptive rights as co-owner of the yards had been breached by the transfer of Wrightson's interests to the new company, which it says amounted to a change of ownership.

But neither the High Court nor Court of Appeal agreed with the argument that there had legally been a change of ownership as a result of the merger.

The final arbiter in the case, the Supreme Court, has backed that view.