Controlling stake in Silver Fern Farms passes to Shanghai Maling

Silver Fern Farms now holds $57 million in cash, alongside its 50% stake in the new business.

China's Shanghai Maling has completed its purchase of a controlling stake in Silver Fern Farms.

The Chinese company has paid $267 million in cash for a 50% stake in Silver Fern Farms, which includes certain voting rights on the board. The deal had been due to complete by January 4 but SFF said last month that it aimed to tie up the sale by the end of the year.

The co-operative now holds $57 million in cash, alongside its 50% stake in the new business. The redemption of approximately $5 million in remaining supplier investment shares and the payment of a $35 million special dividend are due to be completed by the end of February next year.

"This partnership is a genuine game-changer for Silver Fern Farms," SFF chairman Rob Hewett said. "It delivers a strong and sustainable capital structure, the resources to accelerate our plate to pasture strategy in selected global markets and the capital to invest in optimising our production facilities and capability. Importantly, it brings a collaborative and connected partner in the fastest growing red meat market in the world, China."

Director appointments have been made by both shareholders. Rob Hewett, Dan Jex-Blake, Richard Young, Jane Taylor and Trevor Burt have been appointed by the co-operative. Xia Xu Shen, Gu Xiang Yi, He Ru, Sam Robinson and Michael Schubert have been appointed by Shanghai Maling.

Silver Fern Farms is New Zealand's largest meat company and political opposition to the sale was led by the New Zealand First Party. The sale was approved by the government in September, on the recommendation of the Overseas Investment Office. The deal enables Silver Fern to repay its debt, removing a threat from its banking syndicate to withdraw support.


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