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  • 7 months later...
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I will bet they are buying the Fort Dodge business from the PFE-WYE merger. That is still waiting for ACCC approval and in the EU they had to divest their animal health unit to Bayer. Decision any time between now and 30th if everything remains on schedule. Submissions close 11th.


Cornerstone could be Chinese, Bayer or both.


I remember Craig Norgate looking like the cat that got the cream when joining the BPV fund. Agricultural biotech is going to be big and PGW have the biggest seed business in the land. And if you are going to have a GE feedstock then you need to be able to stack the seed with the desired traits.


Which of course puts their interests in the same field, pun intended, as Fonterra and their herds.


The longer this goes on for, the more churlish they look if you ask me.

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  • 4 months later...

Finance is a dangerous occupation it seems. First Herman and now this chap.


Imagine what the ACC premiums must be like for credit/finance! Hope OSH checks it out.






Missing Marac man sparks police hunt

<H2></H2>By DAVID GADD - Stuff.co.nz




The abandoned car of missing chief risk officer for finance firm Marac, who has been missing for days, has been found.


Police say Grant Malcolm Atkinson, 48, disappeared after leaving his North Shore home for work this week.


His disappearance is "out of character and is considered to be unusual," police said.


He was last sighted by his wife at around 8am on Tuesday February 2 when he left the family home at Campbells Bay to drive to his Auckland office - driving black 2007 Holden Calais VS sedan with the plate MARAC3.


Police have now located that car somewhere north west of Auckland in what police say is a "rural location." They are not giving any further details.


Police say he did not arrive at his work as scheduled. His cell phone has not been activated. Other personal resources have not been used.


"The family's concerns for his safety and wellbeing are increasing," police said.


Mr Atkinson joined Marac in 1996 and the company describes him as having extensive knowledge and experience in credit.


His role of Chief Risk Officer is responsible for all aspects of Marac's credit business, including credit approval, review, collection and recovery.






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  • 2 weeks later...

Is PGW in line to be the recipient of some kind of CRI rationalization plan? It seems some kind of anomaly that PGW is represented on the following panel and not Fonterra or any of the meat companies or for that matter any other company at all except a VC outfit.


Maybe the upside for PGW lies in the push to partner the CRI's with private industry. The report was only presented yesterday. Will make an interesting read and worth a little punt on PGW at these prices. Especially after the recap. and part nationalization process is over.


I would suggest the model to be followed is that which has been utilized by the CSIRO with its patent estate between them and companies like BLT and XCD's PolyNovo and Boron Molecular.






Crown Research Institute Taskforce

The Taskforce has been formed to review the CRI model to ensure CRIs are effectively contributing to New Zealand's development.


The Taskforce is reporting to the Ministers of Finance and Research, Science and Technology, as the CRI shareholders. An interim report will be delivered by 27 November and a final report will be delivered early in 2010.



Taskforce members:

  • Rod Carr ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Canterbury University
  • Neville Jordan ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Endeavour Capital
  • John McKenzie - PGG Wrightson
  • Ron Sandland ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Former Deputy Chief Executive CSIRO Australia
  • Chief Executives of:
    • Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
    • The Treasury
    • Ministry of Research, Science and Technology
    • Foundation for Research, Science and Technology
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  • 2 weeks later...

Getting closer to having all these disparate interests merging in to one through M&A, licencing, partnerships and perhaps privatization.


GEN was once involved in this with PGW but looks like they got canned.





'Super-grass' aims to boost milk production


Researchers planning on launching a genetically-engineered "super-grass" by 2013 claim cows grazing on it will produce up to 20 percent more milk.


The GE ryegrass - being developed in Australia for New Zealand seed company PGG Wrightson - has potential to make a huge difference to agriculture, according to the chief executive of the Australia's Molecular Plant Breeding Cooperative Research Centre (MPBCRC), Glenn Tong.


Existing dairy farming pasture-grasses are mainly perennial ryegrass and tall fescue, but the perennial ryegrass grows best in temperate areas that are becoming warmer with climate change.


Mr Tong told the ABC that the technology works to increase the carbohydrates or energy molecules in the grass, and the fodder will also be more digestible than existing ryegrass so the sheep and cows can access those energy molecules more easily.


The Australian researchers working with PGG Wrightson Genomics are also developing a GE grass to reduce the amount of methane given off by livestock, blamed for contributing to global warming.


The scientists at Gramina - the joint biotech venture by New Zealand rural services group PGG Wrightson Genomics and the MPBCRC - are also developing a grass that will not only reduce the amount of methane cows burp up when chewing the cud, but also grow in warmer climates.


This means that farmers may be able to maintain dairy herds' productivity and profitability in the face of a global warming, while reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.


Methane makes up 14.3 percent of humanity's contribution to global warming and nearly half of New Zealand's.


Ruminant livestock such as cattle and sheep produce methane generated by the micro-organisms in their gut that help them break down cellulose in grass.


Gramina has been using "sense suppression" technology to prevent the expression of an enzyme - making the grass more easily digested.


The Gramina partnership and PGG Wrightson Ltd, the parent company of PGG Wrightson Genomics, have so far been given over $NZ5 million in funding from New Zealand taxpayers.


Wrightson has previously predicted global markets will be ready for milk and meat grown on genetically engineered pastures by the time it releases its GE ryegrass, even though some consumers may object to dairy products and meat reared on GE pastures.


By the time commercial seed was available there would be consumers willing to accept produce from animals fed on GE grass, it said.


Importantly, the grasses would not be transgenic - containing genetic codes from other species - but would have some of their existing genes either switched off, or boosted in terms of proteins they produced - a research path recently promoted by the biotechnology sector as "cisgenic".


In August 2003, former Environment Minister Marian Hobbs said that - hypothetically speaking - if a state science company wanted to apply to release GE ryegrass without conditions "I'm pretty sure that wouldn't get through at the moment".


The Environmental Risk Management Authority (Erma) had to take into account the national economic benefit implicit in any approval of GE organisms, she said. One problem would be perceptions GE pasture plants might raise overseas of key export sectors such as dairying.


"If you're doing things that were to go immediately into the food chain in New Zealand, that would begin to raise some issues around timing and confidence and risk and food safety," she said.


In a separate project, NZ Agriseeds Ltd scientists are working on producing temperate pasture grasses with enhanced heat-stress tolerance, water efficiency and increased pest resistance.


Giant dairy cooperative Fonterra initially joined with a United States company, Orion Genomics, to identify the complete gene set of ryegrass, in privately-funded research.


Since then Fonterra has been part of a "pastoral genomics consortium" with AgResearch, Meat and Wool NZ, DairyNZ and the Deer Industry New Zealand, set up to develop a functional genome for clover.



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  • 2 months later...
RPI would prefer the security shares (PGGW/NZFSU) were distributed among the preference shareholders, Mr Norgate added.


This is not such a bad outcome if in the near to middle distance future PGGW or NZFSU make a value adding transaction. The investors will have a good chance of getting their money back.


But you have to feel for these guys when you read the following. He's right on the money with the very last one.


The McConnons put around $40m start up capital into RPI when the company was formed.


Mr Norgate said this and another $19m put into RPI in 2009 by Aorangi Laboratories had been lost by the McConnons, though there had been dividends of around $8.5m back to the family. He personally had nothing to show for seven years of work around the RPI investment vehicle, which held $270m of assets and $105m of liabilities in August 2008. "For me it's more the opportunity cost, the seven years of my life that it's cost ... it's probably $25-$30m of earnings through that period if I'd carried on with a corporate career."


The McConnons were very disappointed, Baird McConnon said. "It's been a very expensive exercise ... but it hasn't been a very kind world







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  • 1 month later...

With all the goings on at SCF it gets lost that SCF became one of the largest shareholders if not the largest in PGW by putting RPI in to receivership.


Is this why the G nationalized them?


Is the PGW seed business critical to the upcoming big ag deal involving PGW, Landcare, Crafar farms, AgResearch and the Chinese outfit UBNZ Funds Management Ltd? If so, they must be so critical that the G saw fit to nationalize them just as JK sauntered off to Sth. Africa for his photo opp.


Coincidentally, I see UBNZ, of May "2c in the dollar" Wang fame, have just taken a stake with GEN. I assume it is a coincidence. They are a cancer company after all even if they have no scientists.

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LandCorp (not Landcare), a SOE, are about to make a bid for the Crafar farms. UBNZ, the Chinese group led by May "2c in the dollar" Wang have already put a bid in for them as well as having taken a stake in GEN.


Sometime ago, PGW when it was Wrightsons (WRI) only, made a bid for GEN at a $1.30. They must've seen something of value there and when I look back at the literature it appears there was a JV between GEN and WRI in the rye grass area. I think AgResearch and LandCorp were involved too.


Rye grass is the feedstock for dairy. Any change in that will have an effect on the animal's metabolism and what it produces. Be that methane, milk or meat.


Which means the productivity of any single acre of marginal land when planted with GE rye grass will suddenly become a whole lot more than what it was without it.


Add in to the mix the nationalization of the Alan Hubbard assets and affairs who are the largest holder of shares in PGW and also own large dairy farm assets in Dairy Holdings Ltd and the Fonterra vote which allows for shares to be traded between dairy farm owners I think it is fair to say there is a consoldidation or rationalization plan in the dairy industry with heavy handed state involvement via its SOE's and in partnership with the Chinese. Which is where John Key happens to be visiting now coincidentally. And so soon after hosting the Chinese number two just a few weeks ago.


The company at the heart of it appears to be PGW. Which makes their undertaking of splitting out their technology division all the more curious.

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Wonder who the JV partner is and how it can be an SOE can give away equity in their commercial dealings without a sign-off from the boss. If indeed it is their equity and not their partners.


Things are getting interesting.




Landcorp says it will not be asking the Government for money to help buy the farms if its bid is successful.


Chief executive Chris Kelly said a purchase would be funded by a mix of equity, some debt and perhaps a joint venture partner.




The Chinese offer is understood in rural real estate circles to be around $230m or $30/kg milksolids a hectare.


Kelly would not elaborate on the possibility that a "joint venture partner" could help fund a successful Landcorp purchase, but suggested it would be a pool of investors.

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