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Vote Date Set For 18 June

Directors of New Zealand Dairy Group and Kiwi Co-operative Dairies have set Monday 18 June as the date for the shareholder votes on the formation of Global Dairy Company, John Roadley, Chairman of Global Dairy Company, announced today.

“The vote will be New Zealand’s last opportunity to maintain the scale and unity of our dairy industry under the ownership of New Zealand dairy farmers,” Mr Roadley said. “It is our last chance to build a 100 percent New Zealand-owned multinational capable of footing it with the best in the world. There will not be another merger proposal if this one fails. We would risk having two smaller companies without the scale to compete globally becoming vulnerable to outside control.”

Mr Roadley said the industry had dealt with a huge range of issues since announcing the merger on 21 December last year. Most recently had been debates about the CEO position and the appointment of independent directors.

“From the outset, the process has been difficult, just as you would expect with a merger of this scale, but the two companies, the Government and the Opposition had now all agreed on the best way forward,” he said.

“The key decision rests – as it should do – with New Zealand dairy farmers.”

Mr Roadley acknowledged that there were risks associated with any merger. “But those risks are far outweighed by the risks of doing nothing in a world that is rapidly globalising and where our competitors are increasing their scale every day,” he said.

“Standing still would be like the old corner shop thinking it could stand still when the new supermarket opened in town.”

Directors were keenly aware that they would need to manage risks associated with having one company so dominant in the industry, Mr Roadley said.

“As a board, we have to manage those risks, with independent valuation each year and tough international benchmarking. Directors all know that they are going to have to put extra effort into making sure they stay in touch with the farmers who own the industry.”

The announcement of the vote date comes after directors agreed to appoint three independent directors and on a process to appoint a CEO.

New Zealand Dairy Group will hold its special meeting at the Totara Christian Centre, Matamata, with links to Ashburton and Invercargill. Kiwi Co-operative Dairies will hold its special meeting at the Hawera Sports Complex. Shareholders who prefer to appoint a proxy must return a form to their company that must arrive by 10.30 am on Saturday 16 June.

Shareholders will receive a newsletter summarising these announcements from today and the formal Merger Proposal should begin arriving on farms from 1 June.

END

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