24 Sep 2011

Farmers group wants new Fonterra share trading vote

7:38 pm on 24 September 2011

A group of Fonterra farmers is asking for another vote on the co-operative's proposal for share trading among farmers.

More than 200 Fonterra suppliers who attended a meeting in Ashburton on Thursday are concerned about losing full farmer control of the company.

When it was put to the vote last year, Fonterra's farmer shareholders gave strong support to the plan to allow them to trade shares with each other. The move will need a law change before it can go ahead.

Some farmers have now raised concerns about the operation of a new fund attached to the trading scheme that would allow outside investors to buy the dividend and income rights of any shares deposited in the fund.

Fonterra has assured farmers they would still own the shares and hold the voting rights.

But some have become alarmed after learning that legal title to the shares would lie with a yet-to-be-named custodian of the fund, meaning they may lose control of those shares while in the fund.

They will be seeking answers from Fonterra at supplier meetings in the coming week and also want all the shareholders to have another vote.