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Fonterra Welcomes High Court Decision On Tui/Kiwi

Wednesday 26 December 2001
For Immediate Release

FONTERRA WELCOMES HIGH COURT DECISION ON TUI/KIWI MERGER

Fonterra Chairman John Roadley has welcomed last Friday's High Court decision rejecting dissident Tui shareholders' challenge to the process and fairness of the 1996 Tui/Kiwi merger.

The claims were brought by approximately 280 (20%) of the former Tui shareholders and sought damages of over $20 million. The claims alleged deceit against the former Tui directors, former Kiwi chairman John Young and former Kiwi chief executive (now Fonterra chief executive) Craig Norgate. Justice Goddard concluded that there had been no deceit on the part of any of the Tui/Kiwi defendants nor negligence on the part of the experts who prepared an independent report endorsing the fairness of the merger terms.

"We are pleased that this dispute is now behind us, and that the actions of the officers involved have been vindicated after a lengthy eight week trial," John Roadley said. "We look forward to the industry moving forward together in the interest of all suppliers," he said.

Justice Goddard's decision follows a lengthy trial that ran from June until August of this year. Her judgment runs to 120 pages, and comprehensively reviews and rejects each of the claims made against each of the defendants. Among other things, her judgment records that the "allegations of deceit made in this case are particularly serious, the more so, in my view, because they have no foundation ... the plaintiffs' case was never founded on anything more than mere suspicion."

END

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