Rotten times for food producers as second tomato farm folds
Bundaberg tomato farm, Basacar Produce, went into voluntary administration last week, with more than 40 workers losing their jobs.
Basacar Produce is the second administration in the area following hot on the heels of the collapse of Australia’s largest tomato farm, Bundaberg based SP Exports, earlier this year.
Basacar Produce's directors – husband and wife Ayhan and Zubeyde Basacar – owe creditors more than $3.5 million.
Major creditors include the National Australia Bank, which is owed $1.375 million, the Tax Office, which is owed $110,000 and the farm’s 41 employees.
Vincents Chartered Accountants has been called in as the administrators for Basacar Produce in an attempt to salvage the tomato farm.
The first meeting of creditors will be held on May 1 with a second meeting to follow on May 24.
Peter Dinoris, one of the appointed administrators, told SmartCompany the directors were looking at putting forward a deed of company arrangement as an alternative to liquidation.
“It will be up to creditors to vote at the second meeting of creditors,” says Dinoris.
“The three options are a liquidation, deed of arrangement or return the company to the directors.”
Dinoris says his role was to supply tomato stock to the farm's existing customers, which included Woolworths and Coles and another entity, Sunrise Produce, had been engaged to do this.
“Their role is mainly to assist in farming the crop and getting it out to customers,” says Dinoris.
The administrator says late payment by clients was a factor in the administration.
“I think it was the global financial crisis and also the customers paying their debts on slow terms,” says Dinoris.