Shareholders in New Zealand's biggest meat cooperative will hold a second vote on July 11 on whether to go ahead with a tie-up with China's biggest meat processor, although the cooperative's board has vowed to ignore the result and press ahead with the deal.
Silver Fern Farms announced the date for the special meeting Friday, when shareholders would again vote on the 50-percent sell down to Shanghai Maling Aquarius Co. Ltd. (Shanghai Maling).
The meeting was requisitioned by 80 Silver Fern Farms shareholders who have claimed the documents issued by the board misled them into voting for the sale at a meeting in October last year.
However, the Financial Markets Authority (FMA), the market watchdog, on Wednesday cleared the board of issuing misleading or deceptive documents, and the board said Friday that it regarded the matter "as now put to rest."
"It is the board's firm view that the cooperative is not, and will not be, bound by the result of the resolution that has been put up and that the transaction with Shanghai Maling remains in the best interests of the co-operative and its shareholders," said the statement.
"Further, the board intends for the cooperative to complete the Shanghai Maling transaction in accordance with the shareholder approval already given in October 2015, irrespective of the outcome of this resolution, as it considers the cooperative is bound to do."
New Zealand lawmakers who last month lodged the complaints about the documents have described the investigation by the FMA as "less than competent."
The complaints said documents led shareholders to believe only weeks before its financial year end balance date that the sale to Shanghai Maling was necessary to prevent receivership or liquidation.
However, 25 days after voting, shareholders learned that net profit after tax was 85.8 percent higher than in the document, while the debt range in the document was seriously overstated.
In October last year, shareholders voted 82.22 percent in favor of selling a half stake to Shanghai Maling, which is 38-percent owned by China's Bright Food Group, for 261 million NZ dollars (175.96 million U.S. dollars).