NZ kiwifruit merger gets shareholder vote

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NZ kiwifruit merger gets shareholder vote

Two New Zealand operators are on track to forming the country's largest kiwifruit postharvest company, after shareholder approval was reached yesterday. kiwi-gold_56346145 _ small

The merger between EastPack and Satara will take effect on Mar. 20, after a Satara interest group gave a majority vote of 88% during a meeting in Te Puke.

The vote came after a process that fell short on Feb. 22, when EastPack shareholders and four out of five Satara interest groups voted in favor of the alliance. Now that all interested parties are on board the deal can go ahead.

The combined group is expected to pack 25-27 million class one kiwifruit trays this year, which would represent around 27-30% of New Zealand's production.

Satara chairman Hendrik Pieters and EastPack chairman Ray Sharp said Psa had reduced the country's volumes by 22% in the last two years, and was one of the merger's key drivers.

"The merger provides the ability to fully utilise some of the industry’s most modern, efficient packing and coolstore sites to maximise returns to grower shareholders in these difficult times," they said in a combined statement.

Growers' fruit will be packed at facilities in Opotiki, Edgecumbe, Te Puke, Katikati and Northland.

Two of the existing Satara sites will be mothballed, to bere-developed with a new plant and equipment once kiwifruit volumes increase.

"The decision to merge these two companies is a logical and pragmatic business decision endorsed by both companies’ shareholders," the two company leaders said.

"The new, enlarged entity will help cement the Single Point of Entry and enable us to work collaboratively with Zespri and all other suppliers to improve returns to growers in this challenging environment," Sharp added.



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