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BusinessDesk: Satara shareholders told to expect dividends after merger fails

Posted in Rural News

By Hannah Lynch

Satara Cooperative Group, the kiwifruit grower that tried unsuccessfully to merge with a rival, said shareholders can expect dividend payouts, with the company looking to increase kiwifruit volumes and business reinvestment in 2012.

Satara directors said they are working to generate sufficient profits to reward all shareholders, sustain rebates, pay a dividend and have enough money left to re-invest in the business.

“This will be challenging,” said Hendrik Pieters, chairman of Satara. “The board will pursue all opportunities into the future, to increase kiwifruit volume throughput the business. We will also look to build on the performance results we have achieved over the past two years.”

Last month 48 percent of Satara shareholders voted for a proposed merger with larger rival Seeka Kiwifruit Industries, which was seen as giving scale in an industry hurt by the vine-wasting disease Psa. The vote fell short of the 75 percent majority needed.

Under the deal, shareholders of Satara would have owned 33 percent of a merged company handling 30 percent of the national kiwifruit crop and 20 percent of the avocado harvest.

“I think the results indicate the need for the board to take a balanced approach when considering shareholder views,” Pieters said. “The board has a duty and responsibility to all shareholders to continue to look at all viable options for grow wealth and de-risk the business,” he said.

An annual business plan for 2012 will be “refreshed” and presented to the board next week, Pieters said.

Shares in Satara have halved in value in the past five years to trade recently at 38 cents.

(BusinessDesk)

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