The Washdyke-based business was confirmed by Solid Energy yesterday as the preferred bidder.
Southern Packers consists of three shareholders - South Canterbury farmers Murray Turley, Dean Pye, and Tony Howey.
The consortium also included Midlands Seed, Biodiesel's agribusiness manager and an agricultural-economist contracted to Biodiesel. If the bid is successful, Midlands Seed would continue to run the oilseed rape growing and processing business as a going concern.
News of the bid was welcomed by South Canterbury Federated Farmers grain and seed chairman, and oil seed grower, Colin Hurst.
'This is the news that oilseed rape growers have been waiting for,' he said.
Growing oilseed rape required a significant commitment because the seed stayed in the ground and prevented farmers from growing other brassica crops for as long as 10 years.
'That's why it's incredibly positive for growers who have made that commitment that the announced preferred bidder will enter the industry to continue oilseed production."
Midlands Seed and Southern Packers were established local businesses with a strong reputation in food production, which will be a great fit for this business, Mr Hurst said.
Solid Energy's agribusiness division included a seed drying and processing plant in Rolleston.
Oilseed (canola) was processed into cooking oil at the factory, while a high- protein meal byproduct of the process is lucrative as animal feed.
The other half of the business, the manufacture and sale of biofuel is being sold separately.
Biofuel is made at a factory in Addington that converted used cooking oil into about 2.5 million litres of biofuel annually. The factory was bought in 2007 and had since been upgraded.
The state-owned coalminer was still considering bids for that side of the business.
Solid Energy announced it would sell or close Biodiesel in August when it laid out a sweeping review of its business and hundreds of staff cuts which were still being finalised.
An "extremely challenging" global coal market was the driver.
If the sale of the agribusiness division went smoothly, Solid Energy expected the consortium would take over next month.
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