July 26, 2018 / 1:00 AM / 4 months ago

NZ's Tegel shelves chicken farm plans amid local opposition

WELLINGTON, July 26 (Reuters) - New Zealand poultry firm Tegel Group Holdings Ltd has put on hold its application to build a large chicken farm in the country’s north in the face of local opposition to the plan, council documents showed.

Tegel in 2017 applied for consent to build a farm capable of raising 9 million chickens a year for meat in the town of Dargaville, but the Northland Regional Council late on Wednesday said it had suspended processing the application at Tegel’s request.

The proposed farm has faced stiff opposition from the local community, which has worries over potential noise and pollution, as well as concerns that the site is near indigenous Māori meeting and burial grounds.

Shares in New Zealand’s largest exporter of chicken slipped 0.88 percent to NZ$1.13 on Thursday.

“In order to respond to some of the constructive points raised, more time is required to obtain the information required to address those points,” Tegel’s lawyer wrote in a memorandum to the regional council.

The company, which is responsible for more than half the country’s poultry output, did not immediately respond to a request for further comment from Reuters.

The move comes as the firm is in the process of being acquired by the local unit of Philippines poultry supplier Bounty Fresh Food Inc.

Bounty made a NZ$437.8 million ($299.54 million) cash offer to acquire the firm in April, which Tegel’s directors in June unanimously recommended shareholders to accept. Bounty still needs approval from the New Zealand regulator that oversees acquisitions by foreign companies.

$1 = 1.4616 New Zealand dollars Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield Editing by Joseph Radford

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