18 Oct 2012

Shanghai Pengxin open to talks on farm sales

2:01 pm on 18 October 2012

The possibility of iwi interests buying two of the Crafar farms from Shanghai Pengxin is still open.

The Supreme Court has turned down an application by two Maori farming trusts to consider a further appeal against the sale to the Chinese company of 16 North Island farms which have been in receivership for three years.

The Tiroa E and Te Hape B trusts were behind the unsuccessful Supreme Court bid.

They want to buy two of the King Country farms which contain wahi tapu or sacred sites but rejected Pengxin's previous offer to sell them for $66 million.

Spokesperson Hardie Peni says he can't comment on the Supreme Court decision yet, because the trusts are still negotiating with Shanghai Pengxin after making a further approach.

Shanghai Pengxin's New Zealand spokesperson, Cedric Allan, says the company is still willing to consider a sale if a commercially acceptable deal can be done.

He says the company is also hosting a delegation of a wider iwi group to China this year looking at other opportunities for business.

Mr Allan says the firm plans to contract an existing processor or form a joint venture to produce high value consumer dairy products for the Chinese market, but the farms will continue to supply Fonterra in the meantime.

He says the company is keen to strengthen its relationship with Fonterra, in China as well as here.