PM denies awareness of Landcorp-Crafar deal
Prime Minister John Key says he's not directly aware of any intention by Landcorp to consider bidding for Crafar Farms.The government-owned farming company is considering whether it might bid for 16 North Island dairy farms formerly owned by members of th
Prime Minister John Key says he's not directly aware of any intention by Landcorp to consider bidding for Crafar Farms.
The government-owned farming company is considering whether it might bid for 16 North Island dairy farms formerly owned by members of the Crafar family.
Landcorp heads said assessment work was being done on the farms and it was not yet known whether the company would tender for them.
Hong Kong-based Natural Dairy (NZ) Holdings has already put in a bid for the farms, which may be worth around $100 million, and which have been in receivership since October.
The company would have to get Overseas Investment Office approval before a sale could be confirmed, and Agriculture Minister David Carter upset Natural Dairy when he said at the weekend that a sale to that company was "unlikely to go through."
He later said that when he made the remark he did not realise Natural Dairy had signed a conditional purchase contract for the farms.
Mr Key told reporters today he had heard about Landcorp's interest but had not received any information about a possible bid.
"Obviously they are an independent SOE (state-owned enterprise) and they in their own right could make a decision that they wanted to," he said.
"Depending on how they funded those – if they did that – that would be a matter for whether they would need to refer that to the share-holding minister, but at this point I have had no advice."
Mr Key said ministers would potentially need to make final decisions on the international bid and it would be best if any comment or speculation was left until after such decisions were made so as not to taint the process.
Real estate firm Bayleys was appointed by receivers KordaMentha to sell the Crafar farms, ranging from 128ha to 1750ha in size.
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