Rural Funds Group merger gets green light

A proposal to merge and list three agricultural property funds managed by Rural Funds Management has been approved by unit-holders, despite strong opposition from some financial advisers.

In a statement issued today, RFM announced that its ‘revaluation’ proposal – which would see the Chicken Income Fund, Riverbank Fund and Australian Wine Fund merged and listed on the ASX as 'Rural Funds Group' – has received “overwhelming support” from shareholders.

“Following the unit-holder vote implementation of the merger is underway with the listing likely to occur in late January,” said RFM managing director David Bryant.

“Most of our investors have been with us for more than a decade and finding an equitable way for them to liquidate their holdings at a time of their choosing was the priority for RFM and the vast majority of financial advisers who guide our investors”.

However, the Investor Action Group, a group of Melbourne-based financial advisers that represent unit-holders in the relevant funds has voiced vehement opposition to the merger.

“We are the only ones standing up to this and saying it is wrong,” DeLancey Worthington of boutique firm Segue Financial Services told ifa in November. “This is being painted as a merger but really it is a takeover; proposal contravenes ASIC guidance,” he said, adding that the proposal fails to uphold the ‘arm’s length’ and protection of existing unit-holder principles.

Earlier this month, RFM admitted to making false statements to the market regarding the merger and listing.

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