Thursday, April 16, 2009

Australia's Largest Olive Oil Producer Troubled

Timbercorp Limited has announced on its website that 'unless the company is able to reach agreement with its financiers to restructure existing debt facilities, or an alternative funding or restructure plan is implemented before 1 May 2009, there is significant uncertainty regarding the ability of the Company to continue as a going concern'.

Timbercorp owns the largest olive groves in Australia and claims to produce around 40% of Australian production of olive oil. Boundary Bend Ltd, owner of the Cobram Estate brand of olive oil, is Timbercorp's 'strategic alliance partner' for its olive projects.

In its 2008 annual report Timbercorp recorded 6,530 hectares of olives under management which produced almost 4.6 million litres of extra virgin olive oil. An oil yield of 15.41%. Oil prices achieved were between $4.53 and $4.71 per litre ($4.92-$5.12/kg). With the 2009 harvest under way, the predicted harvest is 5.5 million litres, almost 20% up on 2008.

The statement cites the cause of the credit squeeze as the unsatisfactory offers for its timber plantations which it is attempting to sell to retire debt. As far as its horticultural assets are concerned, it states that expressions of interest have been received but no formal offer has been made to date. It does not state whether the olive assets are the subject of an expression of interest.