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Agria gets extension of time to repay $10 mln LIC loan

Tuesday 30th October 2012

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Livestock Improvement Corp has granted an extension to Agria on the Chinese company's $10 million loan it used to help it take control of PGG Wrightson.

"To give Agria time to source additional funds to enable repayment, the payment date for these amounts has been extended," LIC said in a statement.

"The effect of that extension is that an amount equal to not less than 50 percent of the loan extended by LIC will fall due for payment on 19 December."

The balance is due in March 2014 and interest rates have been adjusted up on the loan to reflect the extension, LIC said.

The first payment had been due this week. LIC, which sells bull semen and provides a dairy genetics database, said last week it was in talks with Agria and its senior lender about the loan.

LIC stumped up the loan as part of Agria's $144 million partial takeover of local rural services company Wrightson.

The loan was made on commercial terms and granted LIC a director on the Agria unit that holds a 50.1 percent stake in Wrightson.

The New Zealand company wrote the loan to support Wrightson's agritech businesses, and to provide LIC an opportunity to find a Chinese distribution partner. Earlier this month, Agria said it was seeking to extend a $25 million facility with its New Zealand bank to repay LIC , which if provided would restrict the bull semen vendor's ability to enforce security if it wasn't repaid by the end of October.

LIC's shares last traded at $4.95 yesterday on the small-cap NZAX, where only its members can trade them. Agria has been in breach of NYSE listing standards by failing to maintain an average closing price of US$1 a share over a consecutive 30-trading-day period, and has until late January to meet that requirement.

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