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Is Shanghai Maling/Bright Food getting cold feet over Silver Fern?

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Silence from Shanghai has New Zealand First asking if Shanghai Maling will invest into Silver Fern Farms given the financial woes faced by its parent - Bright Food Group.

"Where is the reassuring media release from Shanghai Maling/Bright Food following Silver Fern Farms special resolution? Or are there increasingly cold feet up in Shanghai? " asked Mr Peters.

"That would explain the three-month extension and their silence since last Friday’s vote.

"The Australian Financial Review speculated two months ago that all was not well with this deal, while in May, ratings agency Moody’s downgraded Bright Food’s outlook from stable to negative.

"The issue is the 37% hit it has taken on its NZ$3.46bn flagship investment in Israel’s Tnuva Food Industries - ironically a former farmer co-operative. In March and in a glimpse of the future here in New Zealand, it was reported that Bright Food was demanding sharp job cuts of about 8%.

"Fitch, another ratings agency, only gave Bright Food A- due to it being a Chinese state-owned enterprise. Without that support, Bright Food’s ‘standalone credit profile is assessed to be non-investment grade, constrained by consistent negative Free Cash Flow and high financial leverage’.

"And these are the people a majority of Silver Fern Shareholders voted to get into bed with!

"As a sizeable minority of Silver Fern shareholders pointed out, there was no hard financial analysis by the Board on Shanghai Maling/Bright Food aside from ‘trust us’. Given Fitch noted Bright Food’s enthusiasm for acquisitions has cooled since Tnuva, is this deal going the same way as 2008’s abortive merger of SFF with PGG Wrightson?" Mr Peters said.

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