6 Jul 2015

Meat co-op 'open to merger'

9:38 am on 6 July 2015

Silver Fern Farms remains open to merging with another big meat company as it considers a request to hold a special meeting of shareholders, the cop-operative says.

A farmer group wants the meat co-operative to get independent analysis on the proposal to merge with Alliance Group.

Silver Fern Farms has gathered the required 5 percent support from farmer shareholders to call the special meeting. A similar move is underway among Alliance shareholders.

Silver Fern Farms' chief executive Dean Hamilton said the board was still checking the authenticity of shareholder proxies but expected to hold the meeting.

"We're fully expecting that they're all valid, so one presumes they will be through the five percent. So that's the first step.

"Then the second step will be to call a meeting and (effectively) what the resolution will be is, do shareholders want the company to go and do that work?"

Mr Hamilton rejected suggestions that Silver Fern Farms was putting its head in the sand over the potential merger.

"It couldn't be further from the truth. You know we've discussed that at our AGM, we've discussed it at all of our supplier meetings ... we have an open mind around a commercial combination.

"But it was very clear last year that the counter party didn't want to have that discussion. You know, the kind of analysis is a bit moot unless you've got someone who wants to have similar discussion."

Mr Hamilton said any resolution at the special meeting would not be binding on the board.

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