Chinese to take half of Silver Fern Farms – report

  • 15/09/2015
Prime Minister John Key (AAP)
Prime Minister John Key (AAP)

Silver Fern Farms is set to announce their new foreign partner, with reports a Chinese firm is set to buy a 50 percent stake.

Shanghai Maling Aquarius will pay around NZ$311 million for half of the country's largest meat exporter, Reuters reports.

Silver Fern Farms is set to make an announcement on its capital raising plans on Tuesday morning.

Prime Minister John Key on Monday refused Government funds to support the Dunedin-based co-operative to help strengthen its balance sheet and repay bank debt.

He said a deal with Chinese investors is close.

"The Government won't be giving it the money," Mr Key said at his post-cabinet press conference on Monday.

"It's not a matter for the Government.

Finance Minister Bill English said the Government cannot do anything to stop Chinese investors from taking a 50 percent stake.

"The owners are New Zealand farmers and they have total control of it now," he said.

"We can't really force them to own a business if they don't want to."

Mr English said it was up to the farmer owners to decide whether they wanted to invest in it.

Mr Key and Mr English both say any Chinese bid would go through the Overseas Investment Office in the usual way.

Shanghai Maling Aquarius manufactures and markets canned food, bottled water, flavourings, frozen food, and other related products.