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Bill offers security for NZ dairy farmers

Bill offers security for NZ dairy farmers

A member’s bill drawn from the ballot today will secure ownership and control of Fonterra in the hands of New Zealand dairy farmers, its sponsor Labour MP Damien O’Connor says.

“My Bill - the Dairy Industry Restructuring Bill No 2 - has been drawn at a crucial time for Fonterra. A prospectus has just been launched seeking a minimum of $500 million from investors who will own the rights to dividend and capital appreciation in New Zealand's largest company.

“The Bill limits the total quantity of investment units available to 20 per cent of the value of Fonterra.

“The current limit of 25 per cent is written into the constitution of the company. This Bill will place the lower limit into legislation and require the support of Parliament should the Board and shareholders decide at some point in the future to increase the percentage of the company open to investors.

“Labour proposed such a limit during the passage of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill, which set up Trading Among Farmers (TAF).

“Farmer owners of the company were given assurances that a lowered maximum level of 20 per cent of the value of the company would be put to a shareholder vote at the Annual General Meeting. However, the meeting has been delayed and there is real danger that timing and a low vote participation would leave the company open to greater outside control now that TAF has been launched.

“We have seen the results of an initial 20 per cent investment in a large Kiwi company with the eventual takeover of Fisher and Paykel by Haier last week.

“Fonterra is one of the largest dairy companies in the world and the single largest trader of export dairy products. Investors have indicated strong interest in such a strong and iconic international company.

“It is essential that New Zealand farmers maintain control of its future. Its dominance in the dairy industry required legislation to set up, and it is now worthy of change to further protect its future.

“I would hope that every party in Parliament that values Fonterra and our world leading dairy industry will support this Bill to secure on-going ownership and control by Kiwi farmers,” said Damien O’Connor.


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