23 Dec 2014

Silver Fern dismisses financial rumours

6:20 am on 23 December 2014

The country's biggest meat processor and exporter, Silver Fern Farms, has dismissed continuing speculation about its financial health as false rumours spread by competitors.

The largely farmer-owned co-operative announced a return to profitability in October and a $100 million reduction in debt after two years of heavy losses.

But speculation that it might be preparing to sell off some of its assets started to surface after it announced it was separating its beef, sheepmeat and venison operations, and its appointment of the stockbroking firm Goldman Sachs to advise it on recapitalising plans.

However, Dean Hamilton, who replaced Keith Cooper as interim chief executive, said it was all about improving the business, which was now in a stronger financial state than it had been for some time.

"All these rumours around, I'm sure fuelled by our competitors that we are in a financially fragile position, are false.

"We are in a better financial shape than we have been for a number of years and our bank facilities - we are fully banked for the year, we are going to process at least the same number (of stock) that we processed last year and so it's interesting that the rumour mill still continues, despite all those facts."

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