Administrators take over sugar mill

PROSERPINE sugar mill has been placed into voluntary administration.

KordaMentha announced late yesterday that John Park, Bill Buckby and Robert Hutson had been appointed as voluntary administrators to the Proserpine Co-operative Sugar Milling Association Ltd.

The appointment follows the failure of sufficient Co-operative members to support the special resolution put to members to allow the sale of the business to Sucrogen.

As a consequence of not being able to complete that sale, the Co-operative was put in a position where the Board determined the Co-operative could not meet its debts as and when they fell due, Mr Hutson said.

While the administrators had been advised that the Board recently received a conditional offer of finance from COFCO, the Board determined that this offer of funding fell substantially short of the financial support required to both repay existing debts and also allow the Co-operative to fund its ongoing trading obligations, he said.

The administrators are working urgently to assess the financial position of the Co-operative and meeting with relevant stakeholders to obtain funding to allow the Co-operative to continue to trade.

"We are extremely disappointed with the actions of the Proserpine Board in choosing administration over our offer," Tully Sugar deputy chairman John Amies said.

"The board has chosen to enter into administration, despite Tully tabling a binding and unconditional asset sale and loan agreement."

Sucrogen CEO Ian Glasson said Sucrogen also remains interested in buying the mill.

"We are happy to talk with the appointed administrators to see if we can find a way to work through this matter so Proserpine members still have some voice in the process.

Members will lose their say if the mill goes into receivership," Mr Glasson said.

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