Receivers for failed plantation manager Great Southern will head to court this morning in a bid to get the ball rolling on millions of dollars worth of "critical maintenance" needed to preserve the group's forestry and horticultural assets.
The move, revealed in documents filed with the Victorian Supreme Court, comes after investors in the collapsed group's 43 managed investment schemes urged McGrathNicol to cough up funding for the group's horticultural schemes, which they said needed works completed within weeks.
The subsidiary responsible for the projects, Great Southern Managers Australia, is insolvent and has no cash to fund any rental or maintenance payments. It owes more than $380 million to Great Southern's bankers, who have already advanced some funds to the receiver. But court documents show the banking consortium - ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, BankWest and Japan's Mizuho - have asked the receiver for a guarantee of reimbursement from future MIS proceeds before they hand over any more cash. The documents also reveal Great Southern's financiers sent McGrathNicol in to run the ruler over the company's finances as early as February, three months before its collapse.
McGrathNicol receiver James Thackray said more than $30 million was needed to fund maintenance on the schemes for the 2009-10 year. Most of the work centred on weed control, harvesting and irrigation work and overdue management fees for the olive and vineyard projects. A further $11 million was needed for rent payments to prevent some land being forfeited to landlords.
Lawyers for Mr Thackray will ask the Supreme Court in Melbourne this morning to grant McGrathNicol the right to reimburse Great Southern's bankers from future MIS proceeds for any funds they advance.
McGrathNicol is expected to disclose its findings on the viability of each of the failed group's MIS projects within days.
It comes after Timbercorp growers yesterday agreed to grant a power of sale over the failed company's forestry assets to liquidator KordaMentha.
The vote came after a marathon investor meeting in Melbourne on Friday and leaves KordaMentha to work through more than 50 expressions of interest for the assets.
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