Solid Energy, the state-owned coal company, has named a group led by onion and potato exporters Southern Packers as the preferred bidder for the agribusiness division of its Biodiesel New Zealand unit.
Solid Energy announced in August it was selling the business. If the sale is successful Southern Packers will take over in November. The bidding group includes Midlands Seed, Biodiesel New Zealand's current agri-business manager.
"The consortium's bid is a going concern offer and their intention is to take the oilseed rape industry forward in New Zealand," the Christchurch-based company said in a statement.
Solid Energy is also currently considering bids for Biodiesel New Zealand's fuel division.
The review of its businesses is part of a major overhaul as Solid Energy faces a $200 million fall in revenue this year. Last month it announced it would slash total jobs by a quarter as it put the Spring Creek mine on care and maintenance and cut output at its Huntly East mine.