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Delay for Chinese investment in NZ

NZN 25/06/2016

Silver Fern Farms, New Zealand's largest meat processor, is seeking an extension to the deadline for its controversial $261 million deal with Chinese company Shanghai Maling Aquarius.

Silver Fern Farms says an extension to the June 30 date for receiving Overseas Investment Office approval is in the process of being finalised and a July 11 special meeting is being deferred.

"We continue to believe that we will achieve OIO approval, however we need to allow more time to provide the required information and then for the OIO and ministers to have sufficient time to review," chief executive Dean Hamilton said in a statement on Saturday.

The deal involves Shanghai Maling, a unit of China's state-owned Bright Food Group, taking 50 per cent ownership of the meat processor in return for $261 million of cash, a special dividend, and funds to bankroll the co-operative for seven years.

A meeting of dissident Silver Fern Farms farmer shareholders in Gore last week gave the co-operative's management the message that they did not want the deal to proceed, Fairfax reports.

The deal has shareholder approval but is still conditional on OIO approval by June 30.

Silver Fern Farms says it and Shanghai Maling continue to work towards completion of the investment and partnership.

The special meeting was called after dissident Silver Fern Farms farmer shareholders called for it.

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