The merger of North Island-based Farmlands with South-Island based CRT looks likely to proceed after special general meetings of the farm-supply co-operatives' members yesterday.
The two organisations will have a combined turnover of $2 billion annually and only managerial jobs were likely to be lost due to the complementary geographic spread of the co-operatives.
Both meetings recorded a vote above the required 75 per cent needed to approve of the merger. Farmlands members met in Hamilton and CRT in Christchurch.
Both organisations held road shows before the meetings, which drew high interest in Hawke's Bay, where Farmlands has its head office, after the resignation of two Farmlands directors, former Federated Farmers president Charlie Pedersen and Hawke's Bay representative Hugh Ritchie.
They cited reservations with the merger and its process for their resignation - they needed to resign in order to communicate their reservations with members before they voted.
The merged entity will be known nationally as Farmlands. It will have 54,000 members, more than 1000 staff and 78 retail outlets.
Benefits to members in the first three years of $18 million had been identified.
Confirmatory meetings were the next step in the merger process.
Farmlands would be holding theirs on February 28 in Palmerston North , at which a 50 per cent vote was needed, and CRT's meeting would be on February 27.
The merger would proceed on March 1.