2 Feb 2009

PGG Wrightson still negotiating over default payment

6:07 am on 2 February 2009

Silver Fern Farms meat co-operative and PGG Wrightson are still negotiating the amount of compensation the rural servicing company will pay for defaulting on their proposed partnership.

PGG Wrightson was lined up to buy a 50% stake in Silver Fern, but the agreement fell over late last year after the world financial crisis broke.

The company was unable to get the funding it needed to pay the first instalment of the $220 million price.

Silver Fern's chief executive Keith Cooper said there is no dispute over the need for PGG Wrightson to pay compensation, but they are still discussing the amount.

He said the failure to finalise the partnership has not removed the need for restructuring in the meat industry.

Mr Cooper said there are still opportunities which need to be explored, and much of the integration required in the supply chain can be put in place with some party or another.

He said they are still focusing on how to do it differently, it just depends on with whom and under what structure.

Meanwhile, Silver Fern has a new farmer representative on its board.

East Otago sheep and beef farmer Rob Lawson was elected at the co-op's annual shareholders' meeting last week.

He replaces Bruce McNab who resigned as a director.