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NZ Merino takes full ownership of joint venture

Wednesday 21 September 2016 06:02 PM

NZ Merino takes full ownership of joint venture with Silver Fern Farms

By Edwin Mitson

Sept. 21 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand Merino Co is to take full control of its brand of merino meat, which was previously owned fifty-fifty in a joint venture with Silver Fern Farms.

The partnership started five years ago, creating the Silere alpine origin merino brand through a business called Alpine Origin Merino Limited.

In its annual results published today, NZ Merino said the business had sharpened its in-market focus the past year, following a challenging 18 months. It booked a $60,000 share of profit from the venture, a turnaround from the $149,000 loss the previous year. There was no indication that NZ Merino would take full control of the business in its results.

In the past year, it has focused on identifying farmers able to supply stock that meets Silere specifications year round, so the meat supplier can meet contract requirements, and invested in the Silere brand following market insight work, it said.

"This has set Silere in good stead with respect to its presence in the premium markets we are targeting," the company said.

In a separate statement late in the afternoon, NZ Merino chief executive John Brakenridge said Silere had been built into a successful brand in New Zealand and the United States, "The intention is for Alpine Origin Merino to continue to develop and build the Silere brand in niche markets globally."

Silver Fern Farms chief executive Dean Hamilton added that, "We all agreed that it makes sense for NZ Merino to take charge and drive the merino product range. At Silver Fern Farms our focus today is on the Silver Fern Farms brand."

The government on Tuesday approved the sale of a controlling stake in Silver Fern Farms to China's Shanghai Maling Aquarius, with ministers arguing it would deliver a "substantial and identifiable benefit."

(BusinessDesk)

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