Shareholders in the rural supply co-?ops Farmlands and CRT have given their Boards a clear mandate to take the next step towards a merger of the two societies.
In the first of two shareholders votes required to approve a merger, 82.5 percent of Farmlands Shareholders voted in favour of the proposal, exceeding the 75 percent of votes required to take the proposal to the next level.
The results follow last night's special meetings of Farmlands and CRT shareholders in Hamilton and Christchurch.
Farmlands chairman Lachie Johnstone said his Board was delighted by the result.
"The Establishment Board for the merger will continue its preparations to ensure a merger has its best chance of succeeding, subject to approval by shareholders at a second vote on February 27," he said in a statement.
Shareholders must approve the proposal at that vote by a simple majority of more than 50 percent.
The merged entity would have 54,000 members throughout New Zealand, more than 1,00 staff and 47 stores in the North Island and 31 in the South Island.
A business plan for the merger identified potential net benefits amounting to $38 million over the first three years.