To The Editor of Tasmanian Times.
I have been in constant contact with Korda Mentha – the Receiver/Managers of Gunns Ltd bankrupt assets – over the past 8 months; I have a considerable number of clients who have asked me to look into purchasing numerous blocks of land owned by Gunns covering a substantial acreage. They wish to buy back the farm and remove the trees. I initially made telephone contact with a Korda Mentha representative (Xxx Xxx) who advised me to send an email listing of the proposed land title numbers and also enclose offer price and any other conditions.
I did this promptly and received no reply.
After a few weeks I contacted Korda Mentha again by telephone, I asked to speak to Xxx Xxx and was told he no longer worked there. I explained what had happened and the second representative Xxxx Xxxx asked me to resend the email to another email address. I received email confirmation advising the offer would be kept on file and when the land was closer to being marketed it would be considered.
Some time passed and I again made telephone contact with Korda Mentha. I was advised another person Xxxxxx Xxxxxx was looking after the asset sales and was put through to her. She suggested the offer was probably not accepted because it may have been too low and also the Receivers couldn’t be bothered preparing multiple sale contracts. She also advised the whole Tasmanian asset would be put on the market in the coming weeks and that the offer should be revised . I spoke with my clients and was authorised to increase the offer upwards. I emailed a new offer to Xxxxxx at Korda Mentha within 2 days .
The Tasmanian assets were placed on the market 3 days after I last spoke with Korda Mentha; not several weeks and I am assuming my offer will be used as an indication as to the number of keen buyers, but not the price.
I have tried to set out the incompetence of the Receivers in minimising the work required to earn their commission. No-one knows what is happening inside this ruthless organisation and decisions are being made on the run with no compassion for the thousands of people whose futures rely on the stroke of their pen. It would seem to be an organisation whose only aim is to strip a company of its assets seemingly; not for the benefit of those who put them into Receivership.
It has also came to my attention that Korda Mentha are paying up to date, selected leases which are easily accessible, so they can harvest plantations and export woodchips to provide working cash flow. I know they are buying woodchip pulp logs at the princely sum of $5.00 per tonne royalty to the landowner, previously $ 25.00 to $35.00 per tonne. I wonder who is picking up the 20 to 30 dollars per tonne difference if that is the selling price?
I have as a client an elderly couple with a small area of their land leased to Gunns as a plantation. They have been proactive and had the burden of a caveat removed from their title and in doing so terminated the hold Gunns had over their property by extinguishing their lease . They have recently been able to negotiate a sale of their land , imagine their surprise and the resulting stress when they received a phone call from Korda Mentha employee Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxx proposing to sue them if the sale goes ahead.
So we have a Receiver that is:
1 Completely out of touch with the local community and the people of this State.
2 Taking advantage of the situation to fund their administration of the Liquidation.
3 Completely ruthless over the sitting plantation tenant with a Gunns lease, on their private property.
*James Gavel is not the writer’s real name. He is known to the Editor.