MILK MARQUE is hoping to convince its 10,000 members to grant a new lease of life to the non-trading dairy co-operative.
Directors are balloting members over whether it should be wound up, as envisaged after its break-up in 2000, or converted to a private company to begin trading again.
It has a nominal £15m of members’ undistributed profits which risk being swallowed up by the pension fund if the company is formally wound up.
“Milk Marque is faced with a stark choice,” explained chairman, Roger Evans.
“But by converting and issuing shares we can maintain long-term contributions to the Pension Fund out of our trading operations, create shareholder value for members and invest the equity they hold in Milk Marque in viable, profitable businesses with the ultimate aim of earning dividends.
“We believe this is the most appropriate way forward for the business and hope that Milk Marque members will support it.”
Voting forms have now been mailed to Milk Marque’s members, and farmers must return them by September 24.
But the biggest threat is apathy, since at least half the membership must turn out with a minimum 75% in favour for the conversion to take place.