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Crafar farms receiver says bid remains in place

Friday 10th December 2010

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Receivers of the Crafar Farms say the conditional deal for the sale of the farms remains in place despite the bankruptcy of May Wang, who fronted the bid.

Ms Wang was declared bankrupt in the High Court at Auckland this week. She is a director of UBNZ Funds Management, the company involved in an agreement with the Crafar entities for the sale of the farms.

The bankruptcy raises doubts about the future of the deal between UBNZ and Hong Kong-based Natural Dairy for the Crafar farms.

Ms Wang has said bankruptcy would undermine the deal.

Crafar Farms receiver Brendon Gibson of KordaMentha said an agreement for the sale of the Crafar farms, subject to Overseas Investment Office (OIO) approval, remained in place.

The receivers continued to communicate with UBNZ's solicitors about the progress of the consent process, and were obviously asking about the effect of Ms Wang's bankruptcy.

He pointed out that the agreement was with an entity that continued to survive.

Arrangements were in place that had enabled the settlement to take place, subject to OIO approval, Mr Gibson told Radio New Zealand.

The settlement was with a vendor loan as well as a substantial amount of cash which was held in a solicitor's trust account.

"We always at the time of signing were comfortable that the entity could settle a transaction, subject to the OIO approval, so we are awaiting the results of that."

Yesterday a statement from Natural Dairy (NZ) said the company was talking to legal advisers and studying the issues, following Ms Wang's bankruptcy.

But the statement quoted Graham Chin, and a filing to the Hong Kong Stock exchange shows that Mr Chin was not re-elected as Natural Dairy vice-chairman at the annual meeting of the company in Hong Kong on Wednesday. The vote against his re-election was 99.836 percent. Another director Yen Feng was also not re-elected.



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