Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Liquidator working on Fonterra ex-client gives up

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Going after China food marketer’s Aus directors not worth the expense
Fonterra made efforts to recover the debt, which were all unsuccessful.
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The liquidator working on a Chinese-specialist food marketing company – which Fonterra went to court to tip over – has given up, saying that dealing with Australian-based directors can be a costly exercise.

In September last year the dairy co-op, through its food brands subsidiary, applied to liquidate James Tyler (NZ).

In February this year the matter was called in the high court at Auckland with Thomas Rodewald of Rodewald Consulting appointed liquidator.

James Tyler describes itself as a full-service logistics and distribution business for fresh food into China. 

On its website, it claims to have worked with the world’s largest growers and consumer goods producers to increase sales and brand exposure to millennials in China. Those brands include Woolworths and A2 Milk. 

According to the Companies Register, James Tyler (NZ), which was first registered in April 2020, was removed as an active company in October but reinstated just before Christmas last year. 

Financial records showed Oji Fibre Solutions (NZ) registering security. 

The company’s registered address appears to be in the Auckland suburb of Remuera. In Australia, its registered address appears to be a beachfront property in North Bondi, Sydney.

Rodewald’s first liquidator’s report said the company had no employees, with all work preparing documentation completed in China.

Fonterra had worked with James Tyler’s China team and sent various trial shipments.

“Eventually, two shipments were sent to China, but the product did not sell. Payment was never received for the product, so Fonterra Brands (New Zealand) petitioned the court to place the company into liquidation.”

At the time of the liquidation, a Fonterra spokesperson told BusinessDesk the debt with James Tyler arose in 2021.

Many efforts were made to recover the debt, which were all unsuccessful, they said. 

“FBNZ [Fonterra Brands New Zealand] applied for liquidation, which was not opposed and, because the debt was not paid prior to the matter being called, an order for liquidation was made by the court.”

In his final liquidator’s report, filed this week, Rodewald said he’d received unsecured creditor claims totalling just over $44,511.

The director, James Hutchinson, was located in Australia and Rodewald had spoken with him via telephone.

“No progress was made.”

From prior assignments, Rodewald said, dealing with Australian-based directors could be a costly exercise, and “in view of the size of the claims lodged it was decided there was no alternative but to finalise the liquidation”.

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