Silver Fern Farms gets help ahead of vote

The deal would see the SFF assets poured into a new company half-owned by Shanghai Maling. Photo / John Stone
The deal would see the SFF assets poured into a new company half-owned by Shanghai Maling. Photo / John Stone

Silver Fern Farms has got Grant Samuel to back its proposal to sell half its meat processing assets to China's Shanghai Maling Aquarius ahead of a second shareholder vote, which the board will ignore if support for the deal evaporates.

In the notice to shareholders of the August 12 meeting in Dunedin, Grant Samuel again said the terms of the transaction were "fair and reasonable", with the meat company still "undercapitalised and a financial restructuring is critical to its future".

The transaction was supported by shareholders at a meeting last year, but 80 dissident investors led by John Shrimpton and Blair Gallagher forced a second vote, claiming it wasn't in the best interests of the company.

The deal would see the meat processor's assets poured into a new company half-owned by the Chinese firm in return for $261 million of cash to repay bank debt, a special dividend, and funds to bankroll the co-operative for seven years.

"We are frustrated and disappointed that Messrs Shrimpton and Gallagher have encouraged a small group of shareholders to question the approval obtained last year, that they have required the co-operative to hold this further special meeting, and that they are continuing to agitate for the transaction to fail," chairman Rob Hewett said in a statement.

"Subject to Overseas Investment Office approval, Silver Fern Farms is bound to complete the transaction with Shanghai Maling. This meeting -- whether the resolution is passed or not -- cannot change that."

- BusinessDesk

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