By Alex Tarrant
Landcorp CEO Chris Kelly says he hopes the Crafar Farms saga will be over once and for all by the end of July.
A ruling by the Court of Appeal on what appeared to be a final bid by the Michael Fay-led Crafar Farms Independent Purchaser Group to stop the sale of the farms to a Chinese company was due sometime during the month, following a hearing on July 2.
Speaking to Federated Farmers' Annual General Meeting in Auckland on Wednesday afternoon, Kelly said the Crafar farms "saga", which began in 2009 when interest.co.nz revealed animal welfare issues on the farms, would end quickly if the Court ruled against Fay, as Shanghai Pengxin went unconditional on its offer to buy the 16 farms.
Landcorp has signed an agreement with Pengxin to manage the farms in the nature of a 50-50 sharemilking agreement.
"One of two things will happen [at the hearing]: The judge will either reserve his decision, which, knowing judges, I think will be what will happen, in which case we'll know the outcome of that by mid-July," Kelly said.
"[Or] if he makes his determination on the day then that's it."
"Having made that determination, it is possible that Fay could then re-appeal to the Supreme Court. All our advice is that he probably will not do that, because he can only appeal on points of law, and this will be the third time he's been heard," he said.
"Once that happens, there will be, in very short order: The Shanghai Pengxin Group will go both unconditional and will settle within a pretty short period of time. So I'm hoping, fingers crossed, it'll be all over one way or the other by the end of July."
Kelly said the events had been a "terrible saga."
"The receivers [KordaMentha] are caught in a bad space. They're responsible for minimising costs so they're not spending any money. They thought Shanghai Pengxin would come along and do a lot more with the farms - they can't, of course, yet, because they can't own them," he said.