20 Apr 2015

Fonterra looks at investing in NZ farms

5:59 am on 20 April 2015

Fonterra may be looking to launch a new fund later this year to put money into New Zealand farms supplying it with milk.

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Photo: RNZ

The co-operative raised the idea of establishing an equity partnership trust to provide investment capital for farms last year, but its New Zealand suppliers are still waiting to hear whether the plan is going ahead.

Fonterra's Australian chief executive, Judith Swales, has indicated it could be ready to start making its first investments in dairy farms there in October.

Federated Farmers' dairy chair Andrew Hoggard said farmers here would like to know what is going on in this country.

"They certainly had round table forums around the country, with groups of suppliers, getting our feedback on what we thought of the idea and what we thought would be the pros and cons of it," he said.

"So there was an expectation from farmers that this was something possibly planned for the New Zealand farming scene and I imagine most farmers would be interested in knowing from Fonterra what the overall feedback was from the New Zealand suppliers ... and what the management and the board have decided to go with here in New Zealand."

Fonterra said since raising the idea last year, it had held meetings with about 125 farmers in New Zealand and Australia and spoken to some large farming syndicates as well.

It said most had backed the idea, so if it found enough farmers were interested, it would try to launch an equity partnership trust for New Zealand late this year.

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