The Meat Industry Action Group is taking Silver Fern Farms to the High Court to force it to name a date for a special general meeting.
MIAG collected enough proxy votes from shareholders to force both SFF and Alliance Group to hold sgms as a first step in MIAG’s plan to promote a merger between the two co-operatives.
Alliance has agreed to hold its meeting on September 5, but MIAG said SFF has delayed committing to a date, forcing it to seek a court ruling.
But it appears the meat companies are less than enthusiastic about calling the special meetings at which MIAG has 11 remits to put to shareholders.
MIAG says the remits would advance industry consolidation and help create a new farmer-owned entity, it calls the National Champion, to handle 80% of the country’s red meat industry.
Alliance chairman Owen Poole this week slated MIAG, saying the resolutions were prescriptive, divisive and counter to the legal requirements of directors acting in the best interests of the company.
SFF chairman Eoin Garden accused MIAG of being disruptive and misleading.
“It is more likely that history would record MIAG, by its actions in destabilising the governance of both companies, has in itself been the cause of slowing the progress of industry consolidation.”
MIAG has got the co-operatives agreeing about something – their opposition to the ginger group.
Mr Garden said the company had agreed to hold the meeting following its own special meeting on September 8. A promise to hold the meeting was communicated to MIAG on August 10 and he said the court action was a waste of time, resources and money.
It was important to get an outcome on the SFF-PGG Wrightson vote so the new board could hear issues raised at the special meeting initiated by MIAG.
“We have a firm option on the table to be voted on, whereas MIAG requirements are about a process, as opposed to a concrete transaction.”
MIAG is seeking proxies for the special general meetings. Farmers should be very careful about giving them until they understand exactly what their votes would be supporting.
The groups demands for industry consolidation are not a recipe for improved returns and as Poole points out they would breach directors’ legal responsibility to act in the best interests of their company.