Vote expected to be close

If the vote over whether PGG Wrigthson takes a 50% stake in SIlver Fern Farms required only 51% support I think it would succeed.

But it requires 75% and the result is predicted to be close.

Informed observers are picking support by Silver Fern Farm (SFF) shareholders on whether to form a partnership with rural servicing company PGG Wrightson will lie between 70% and 80%.

This means the vote on the key resolution – the second of two to be considered – could go either way.

It amends the co-operative’s constitution and needs 75% support for the partnership to proceed.

“It will be close because there is such a high threshold,” SFF chairman Eoin Garden said.

. . . Other farming leaders agree the vote will be close.

Meat and Wool New Zealand chairman Mike Petersen said the final count on the key resolution would be 70%-80%.

“It will be a line call whether it gets through,” Mr Petersen said.

Federated Farmers Otago meat and fibre chairman Rob Lawson said there appeared to be plenty of support for the proposal, but it was too close to say whether it was sufficient.

He said the decision meant today was a key day for the industry.

Southland Federated Farmers president David Rose also said it would be close.

“I can’t pick it at the moment.”

Friday’s special general meeting of Alliance Group shareholders made it quite clear that they have no wish to merge with SFF so if the vote goes agaisnt the merger today SFF’s plan B won’t involve the other big co-operative.

And given that there will be around 9 million fewer sheep to kill this year, whether PGW is involved or not the meat industry has not yet finished what SFF calls its “right sizing”.

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