A merger between the North Island rural retail co-operative Farmlands and Dunedin based company CRT is a step closer.
The boards of both companies have recommended to their respective shareholders that a merger is in their best interests.
CRT chairman Don McFarlane said shareholders at a meeting in Christchurch on Tuesday completed the first of two votes required for the merger to go ahead.
He said just over 85% of those who attended voted in favour.
Subject to approval by a second vote by shareholders in a fortnight, the process of bringing the two companies together will begin on 1 March.
A new entity would have 54,000 members, more than 1000 staff, 46 farm supply stores in the North Island and 31 in the South Island, and combined sales in excess of $2 billion a year.