Jamie Gray

Jamie Gray is a business reporter for the New Zealand Herald and APNZ wire agency

Co-op's TAF scheme on track to start this year

Photo / Brett Phibbs
Photo / Brett Phibbs

The Government has postponed the share market float for Mighty River Power, but the other big equity event - Fonterra's trading among farmers (TAF) scheme - is on track for introduction before year's end, says Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings.

The dairy co-operative is conducting research through focus groups to take farmers through the technicalities surrounding TAF, Spierings said.

Fonterra expects to lodge a prospectus for TAF on October 26. Once the prospectus is filed, there will be a supply-based book build for the shares and a demand-based book build, says Spierings.

"Our aim is to have it up and running by the end of November."

Fonterra's plan aims to remove redemption risk and provide permanent share capital, with farmers buying and selling shares among themselves rather than with the company.

There are two main components to the scheme - the Fonterra Shareholders' Market and the Fonterra Shareholders' Fund.

The shareholders' market will be available only to farmers and the shareholders' fund will be open to farmers and the investing public.

Under the plan farmers would be able to place shares with the shareholders' fund and be paid for the rights to dividends and any change in market value, while retaining voting rights.

The fund would raise the money to pay farmers by selling investment units, which would be managed through the stock exchange.

The fund will sit alongside the co-operative, not inside it, and will operate along similar lines to a unit trust.

It is expected to be worth not less than $500 million.

In June Fonterra's farmers voted in favour of TAF. The first resolution for TAF, which required a simple 50 per cent majority, received 66.45 per cent support.

The second part of the vote, which was for constitutional changes to Fonterra, needed 75 per cent support but gained just 72.8 per cent.

Farmers will again vote on this proposal at Fonterra's annual meeting on December 17.

The constitutional changes would have lowered limits on the size the Fonterra Shareholders' Fund from a previously endorsed 25 per cent of the company to 20 per cent.

- APNZ

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