27 Jan 2011

New bid accepted for Crafar farms

6:50 pm on 27 January 2011

Receivers for the Crafar family farms say a new offer they have accepted is not as high as the original bid but it is still well above any other.

UBNZ Funds Management was seeking to buy the 16 farms on behalf of Hong-Kong based Natural Dairy NZ Holdings but has withdrawn its bid after failing to get approval by the Overseas Investment Office.

The new offer from Pengxin International Group, based in Shanghai, will also need clearance from the office and expects to make its application by the end of March.

One of the receivers, Michael Stiassny of KordaMentha, says they have been negotiating with Pengxin for months and accepted its offer after UBNZ withdrew.

Mr Stiassny says it does not match the UBNZ bid, reported to be at least $NZ200 million, but is significantly higher than other offers, including one from the state-owned farming enterprise Landcorp.

Pengxin International Group has property, mining and agricultural interests in Argentina, Bolivia and Cambodia, as well as extensive farming operations in China, focused on sheep breeding, wheat and soybean production.

The company says it has assets worth well over $US2 billion.