Farmers getting online for vote

Last updated 13:31 19/06/2012

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With four days left for Fonterra farmers to vote on the dairy giant's polarising plan to introduce share trading among farmers, 35 per cent of shareholders have voted, about half of them online.

Returning officer Warwick Lampp of Electionz said most Fonterra farmers vote in the last three days before voting closes, so his team is geared up for a last minute rush.

Voting on trading among farmers (TAF) via internet, post and fax closes at 10.30am on Saturday.

The special shareholders meeting itself will be held at 10.30am on Monday in Hamilton, with audio visual links to seven other venues.

The results of voting will be known that day.

For Fonterra's 10,500-odd farmer-shareholders, it is the second vote on the capital restructure proposal which would see New Zealand's biggest company, a farmer-owned co-operative, relieved of its obligation to cash up the shares of farmers who are exiting or reducing their milk supply.

A market would be created for farmers to trade the shares between themselves, with non-voting, dividend-carrying units in shares traded through a proposed shareholders' fund being offered to sharemarket investors.

Shareholders voted in support of the TAF concept in 2010 but in the delay implementing the restructure, many farmers have got cold feet, fearful the influence of outside investors could push up the share price beyond farmers' reach, and set a path for loss of control and ownership of the farmer-owned company.

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- Waikato Times

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