25 Jun 2012

TAF plan approved by 67% of shareholders

8:08 pm on 25 June 2012

Fonterra farmer shareholders have approved its Trading Among Farmers plan.

The decision has been announced after final votes were counted at Monday's special meeting of the dairy cooperative at eight venues around the country.

Just over 67% of those who voted supported the proposal.

The TAF plan will allow farmers to trade shares among themselves, and will also allow outsiders to invest in the dividend from shares that farmers deposit in a special shareholders fund.

But a second resolution to tighten up the constitution around TAF did not get the support it needed, and that will go back to Fonterra's AGM in November.

Fonterra chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden says they will continue working towards a November launch for TAF, but that will depend on market conditions.

He says the third of its farmer shareholders who opposed the company's TAF proposal are likely to support the plan now it has been approved.

Sir Henry says there has always been vigourous debate and discussion on issues facing the dairy industry, and the trading proposal was no different.

However, he says he is confident farmer shareholders will continue supporting the cooperative.

Sir Henry says the vote attracted a record 85% turnout from farmers.

The introduction of TAF will also depend on changes to dairy industry legislation currently before Parliament.

Prime Minister John Key says the vote in favour of the TAF plan opens a new chapter for Fonterra.

Mr Key says Fonterra will be pleased to have a mandate, and the Government will look to progress legislation before Parliament that will allow the plan to go ahead.