Pengxin welcomes Court’s rejection of Fay, Maori trust attempt to block Crafar sale
Aug. 8 (BusinessDesk) - Shanghai Pengxin has welcomed a decision by the Court of Appeal to reject an attempt by Michael Fay and two Maori trusts to block the sale of the Crafar farms, saying it can now proceed with a programme of improvements for the properties.
Fay and the trusts had sought a judicial review of the Minister for Land Information and Minister of Finance's approval of the sale, arguing that Pengxin hadn’t demonstrated it had enough business experience. Pengxin plans to have state-owned Landcorp manage the properties.
“Our immediate priority is to begin the process of improving the farms, increasing production, and making sure we comply with all of the conditions imposed by the Overseas Investment Office,” according to a statement issued by Pengxin spokesman Cedric Allan.
The farms are to be purchased in the name of Pengxin’s Milk New Zealand Holding unit and run by Milk New Zealand Farm Management, a joint venture with Landcorp Farming Ltd.
Pengxin reportedly offered $210 million for the farms, while Fay’s rival Crafar Farms Independent Purchaser Group offered $171.5 million.
The appeal group was initially fronted and bankrolled by merchant banker Fay and Maori bidders who claimed iwi affiliation to the land. Among conditions imposed on the sale of the farms by the Overseas Investment Office is transfer of a culturally important Maori site for no payment.