Motue' />

By PHILIPPA STEVENSON agriculural editor

Fishing company Talley's has become a major shareholder in the troubled Affco meat company.

Motueka-based Talley's, with interests in vegetables and dairy products also, took up a $6 million, 10 per cent placement to lift its holding in the North Island's second biggest meat processor to 11.3 per cent.

It is privately-owned Talley's second recent foray into the meat industry. Last year it unsuccessfully bid for 36 per cent of the other major North Island company, Richmond, but lost out to a deal between South Island meat processor PPCS and Active Equities.

Affco executive chairman Sam Lewis welcomed Talley's involvement as a significant vote of confidence in Affco.

The capital would be used to buy stock and other projects the company expects to announce in coming months.

The company needs the injection.

In May, it reported a poor half-year after-tax profit of $752,000, down 90 per cent on the $7.4 million of the corresponding previous period.

Mr Lewis has managed Affco since March after the sudden departure of high profile chief executive Ross Townshend and several more of the company's top managers. Eleven head office executives have now gone, with a range of support staff.

The company had finalised its new seasonal finance facility with its banking syndicate of Rabobank, HSBC and BNZ, Mr Lewis said.

As part of a capital restructuring, Affco would seek a pro rata cash issue from its shareholders next month. Mr Lewis declined to give details until then.