23 Feb 2012

Shareholders Council non-committal on second vote

6:10 am on 23 February 2012

The chairman of the Fonterra Shareholders Council is non-committal on whether Fonterra suppliers should get a second vote on the dairy co-op's Trading Among Farmers scheme, before it takes its final shape later this year.

But he's adamant that the council won't approve anything that compromises farmers' control.

Federated Farmers has called for a second vote, saying there's increasing concern about the main sticking point in the TAF scheme, a shareholders fund that outside investors could have access to.

Farmers initially voted strongly in favour of TAF in 2010, but many are now worried that allowing investors to buy income rights to shares deposited in the fund could undermine their co-op ownership.

The Shareholders Council is reviewing the scheme on behalf of farmers.

But its chairperson Simon Couper says that doesn't include considering whether there should be another vote.