Farmlands chairman backs merger

Last updated 05:00 23/01/2013

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Farmlands chairman Lachie Johnstone says he is disappointed at criticism of the proposed merger of Farmlands, a North Island rural supply company, with its South Island counterpart CRT.

But he says open dialogue is part of the process and it is up to shareholders of both farmer-owned co-operatives to make the final decision.

Two member-elected directors of Farmlands have resigned from the board in protest at the proposed merger. Charlie Pedersen, who represented West Coast, North Island, and Hugh Ritchie, East Coast, North Island, have quit just days before merger details and voting forms are due to go out to members.

In a joint statement, Pedersen and Ritchie said that, as the two largest transacting directors on the Farmlands board, they did not believe the proposal was in the best interests of members, setting out four key areas of concern.

Johnstone said a lot of work had gone into seeking to address the concerns of the two men in recent weeks.

He believed the merger proposal was robust and would bring a range of benefits to members including economies of scale, increased efficiencies and improved returns. Professional advisers had reviewed and validated the proposal, he said. Fairfax NZ

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