6 Dec 2011

Satara says PSA harder to fight alone

6:31 am on 6 December 2011

The smaller of two kiwifruit companies involved in a failed amalgamation bid says the PSA vine disease will be much harder to manage alone.

The proposed merger of Seeka, the largest post-harvest operator in the country, and Satara was mooted in November, with one of the drivers being it would help the companies to better cope with the reduction in fruit due to PSA.

The proposed deal would have involved Satara shareholders swapping three of their Satara shares for one Seeka share.

Satara shareholders have voted against that, saying the offer was not good enough and they prefer their co-operative structure to Seeka's commercial one.

Satara Tom Wilson managing director says it's a disappointing result for both companies, but he has no doubt both companies will "fare okay in their own right."

He says the decision is disappointing from a commercial perspective since he believes "there was a certain amount of safety growers, owners and staff would have enjoyed" under amalgamation.

"But it was our owners' choice ..... so let's get on with it."

Mr Wilson believes consolidation is the key to managing PSA and Satara will look to mergers with smaller companies.

Last year, Satara and New Zealand's second-largest kiwifruit operator, EastPack, also considered amalgamating but that did not proceed.