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Friday
Nov292013

Greenshell - Down and Out!

After all the problems that Peter Vitasovich has faced with his Greenshell and Ikana Companies, they have finally come under the control of Korda Mentha as receivers - a notice appeared in the Hauraki Herald today that seems to finally put a line under his valiant attempts to keep the show afloat.

I imagine that there will a large number of creditors in Coromandel, and Whitianga - including a number of fishermen who will be wondering today just how they will survive these company failures, and be wondering just how much in the dollar they are likely to receive, if anything. 

If you wish to see the history of this disaster then simply put Greenshell into the search engine and see the posts that I have put up previously on the matter. 

What really concerns me is the support that TCDC has provided in a number of ways to Vitasovich over the last year or two, and in particular the promotional material that they have placed on their Website earlier this year when they should have known that he was in trouble. This was not only contrary to best practice, it may well have given comfort to the many creditors who have been anxiously waiting to see if his Ikana venture at Whitianga would succeed and manage to keep him afloat after the previous losses of the Greenshell Companies. What it shows is the danger of having an enthusiastic amateur at the Economic Development helm.

It is all very sad, and an indication of the difficulties facing the mussel industry. There may well be others who follow Vitasovich out the door - if he can't make it, and he is chairman of the national industry body, then who can? 

Another particularly disturbing aspect is that our Council has spent at least $1.2m on infrastructure at Sugarloaf and more is under way, on the basis of an undertaking by Vitasovich that the industry would pay back the Council over the next few years. Just how well the Council has protected itself under this arrangement is yet to be seen. I will seek an immediate answer to this on Monday. 

All this follows the winding up of North Island Mussel Procesors in Tauranga in October 2012 when his partners - Sanford and Sealord expelled Greenshell following its failure to pay a year old $1.2 processing bill. Sanford and Sealord reformed the Company without Vitasovich, and now his Ikana venture into the gourmet food export arena using recipes by celebrity chefs, and based at OPC in Whitianga appears to have have gone down the drain. Presumably OPC will have protected themselves, but it may have a substantial effect on employment at the factory.

I feel sorry for Peter - he was a true pioneer in the industry, but it appears that there are management issues with which he has always had difficulty. I hope he manages to come out the other end of this without too much damage, but I know from personal experience just how devastating receiverships can be on entrepreneurs. 

 

 

 

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