29 Sep 2015

Another investment offer for Silver Fern Farms?

7:00 am on 29 September 2015

The chairman of a meat industry group is hoping another investment offer will be put before Silver Fern Farms this week.

meat processing (stock photo)

The $261 million potential joint partnership between Silver Fern Farms and Shanghai Maling is causing debate within the meat industry. Photo: 123RF

The farmer-owned co-operative recently announced a proposal in which China's largest meat processor, Shanghai Maling, would invest $261 million into the company to create a 50:50 partnership.

Silver Fern Farms shareholders will vote on the proposal on 16 October.

The farmer-led group Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) wants to reform the meat industry by blending Silver Fern Farms with the Alliance Group.

MIE chairman, Southland sheep farmer Peter McDonald, said there was still hope for that proposal, and both would be voted on at the meeting in Dunedin in October.

Meanwhile, Wanaka-based businessman John Rodwell has confirmed a group of agribusiness companies had been prepared to underwrite a rights issue for existing shareholders to re-capitalise the company - but the $40-45 million amount was rejected.

He said, since then, the group has worked to increase the capacity of the underwrite, and the rationale behind it, and it wants to discuss that with Silver Fern Farms.

Alliance has revealed it submitted a bid for Silver Fern Farms prior to the company's capital-raising process - however its chairman, Murray Taggart, said it could not comment for legal reasons, and that still stood yesterday.

"We've still got a bit of time. I'm hopeful that a second option may present itself within this week and as soon as another option presents itself, this resolution may well come in to play here," he said.

"This is the other question for me - you've got a $3.5 billion co-operative in Silver Fern Farms, you can't tell me that they do not have a plan B."

But he said he was not officially aware of one.

"All I can say is that when you're standing in the edge of the cliff looking into the abyss that's when the big decisions are made, so if anyone is going to come up with something, it's going to have to happen quickly."

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