10 Jan 2009

Silver Fern Farms in joint venture

9:19 am on 10 January 2009

The head of New Zealand's largest meat company says a new joint venture will help to protect the future of meal and tallow production.

New Zealand exports more than 200,000 tonnes of meal and tallow a year.

Farmer cooperative Silver Fern Farms and Modena Investments, jointly owned by New Zealand tallow company Landmark and Italian rendering firm Societa Azionaria Prodotti Industrali, have created a new company called Farm Brands.

Silver Fern Farms chief executive Keith Cooper says the company was formed to boost the production and sales of meal and tallow.

Initially, it will focus on marketing but will eventually build new processing facilities.

Mr Cooper says that will provide some protection for the products, in case New Zealand follows the international trend of requiring processed material to be handled outside of food sites.

He says Societa Azionaria Prodotti Industrali is one of the world's leading processing companies and its experience and knowledge will benefit the sector.

Most of the 150,000 tonnes of meal produced in New Zealand each year is exported for use in pet food and poultry feed, while more than 100,000 tonnes of tallow is shipped to Asia to make soap.

Mr Cooper said Farm Brands' sales are expected to exceed $70 million in the first year and the new company will not affect Silver Ferns Farms' staffing requirements.