When it released its half-year profits in February 2018, Synlait announced it had “entered into an agreement to buy land in Pokeno in February and is now proceeding to settlement, in accordance with the agreement, following satisfaction of all of the conditions.”
The 28-hectare site would have been the location for Synlait to establish a second nutritional powder manufacturing plant. The title to the Pokeno land has since transferred to Synlait after the removal of land covenants by the High Court late last year, however, that High Court decision was reversed last week.
Synlait said it has acted in accordance with legal advice at all times in respect to land at Pokeno which was subject to the decision in the Court of Appeal.
Due to the Pokeno land being rezoned industrial land from grazing land, and the development in the Pokeno area including the building of another dairy plant, Synlait was confident the land covenants no longer remained relevant. Synlait said this was confirmed when the High Court removed the covenant in November 2018.
“It made sense as a result of zoning and proper planning that allowed for industrial zoning that the land covenants would be removed by the court which they were,” Synlait CEO Leon Clement said.
Synlait only took legal title to the land after the High Court decision removing the land covenants.
“Yesterday’s Court of Appeal decision was unexpected,” he added.
Synlait said it will continue to engage with all parties involved and is confident the covenants issue should be able to be resolved by the parties.
The company said it remains committed to the location.
“We intend to continue with our plans at Pokeno,” Clement said.