3 Sep 2013

Shanghai Pengxin farms progressing well

7:19 am on 3 September 2013

The man who has been overseeing the operation of the former Crafar Family farms under their new Chinese owner says everything is going according to plan.

Chris Kelly has just finished up as chief executive of state-owned farming enterprise Landcorp, which has been managing the 16 North Island farms since the Shanghai Pengxin group took them over late last year.

He says Landcorp bought the 16,000 dairy cattle on the farms and is now the sharemilker on the land, so shares revenue 50-50 with Shanghai Pengxin.

"We've had some of Landcorp's own staff want to have a new challenge and go on to those new farms because, as we speak, they're not the flashest of farms, shall we say," Mr Kelly says.

One of Landcorp's roles, as well as sharemilking, is to spend about $16 million of Shanghai Pengxin's money to upgrade the properties, which averaged out at $1 million a farm.

That figure is a good indication of how much capital investment is needed in the farms, Mr Kelly says.

Asset freeze

Meanwhile, the High Court has made a final order freezing assets held in New Zealand by two earlier unsuccessful bidders for the Crafar farms, Jack Chen and May Wang.

The pair, who are defending money laundering and fraud changes in Hong Kong, were behind the first Chinese bid to buy the farms out of receivership.

The New Zealand Overseas Investment Office rejected their application to buy the farms and the legal proceedings in Hong Kong followed.

The Hong Kong High Court started the process of freezing assets with an initial order in 2011.