Tasmanian Times

Economy

Dealing with Korda Mentha …

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.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. James Galbraith

    November 30, 2013 at 8:16 am

    # 14 Karl

    May I suggest you ring the Gunns office in Launceston and speak to someone. Am sure they would be happy to engage with you.

  2. frank nicklason

    November 29, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    Surely there must be a legal requirement of the liquidators to get the best result possible for all those owed money by Gunns?

  3. William Boeder

    November 29, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Somewhere in this stink-pot of continuing to log Old growth Forests will be found the vulturine influences of Paul (Thuggo) Lennon, Bryan (the giggler) Green, then the, (immune to all regulation and calls for integrity and running a profitable enterprise) mob of Forestry Tasmania.
    I wonder who gets to share the spoils of this festering larceny ever ongoing in our Tasmanian forests?
    It surely is not structured toward the State’s revenues, nor is it going to benefit the Tasmanian people at any stage of its ruthless endeavours.
    Each of the comments in the above that make mention of the stealth operators of Korda Mentha, (which sounds to me like the name of a Concentration Camp or a Slaughtering Operation) will be right on the money.
    For they are much the same as Forestry Tasmania in their operations being cunningly instituted programs to fleece the mum and dad shareholders, also the desires to strip whatever monies that may be due to superannuation accounts as a means of return from whence it earlier came, then any other public benefitting institutions, (even those monies advanced by various State and Federal government departments.

    The Big 4 Banks love this Korda Mentha-PPB advisory cabal, particularly for their cut-throat approach to ensure that these odious Big 4 Banks get their poorly loaned or foolishly advanced or invested monies that may be due, (even if these institutions have already written these parlous positioned amounts off as losses. and since reported as unrecoverable debt.
    Following which Korda Mentha and any of their associated/consorting business institutions tally up their devious planned, heavily-loaded invoice as to costs. (Previously intended to mop up the remainder of any asset sales.)
    Were it not so and were there not stories in the Melbourne Age that reports into the clandestine motives and deals that make up the major portion of the work that these shylock types engage in, then one might question the validity of my comments.

    In an honest World hosting impeccably honest government ministers and same credentialed regulatory authorities, these ‘managers and receivers’ institutions, (asset stripping and disposal professionals) well there just wouldn’t be any space or place at all for the predator operations of the above-named insolvency practitioners.
    There is no probity in our present Lib/Lab government circles, nor is there any history of that which is best described as ‘honest representation of the people’ by any of these loathsome Lib/Lab pack of chameleon-like pretenders.

  4. Karl Stevens

    November 29, 2013 at 10:41 am

    James Galbraith. Why can’t FSC stakeholders inspect the Korda Mentha wood-chipping operations?

  5. Basil Fitch

    November 28, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    #11 thank you. Only thing now is to confirm whether in fact, Artec, Neville Smith, or indeed Korda Mentha, are forging ahead ‘business as usual’ into our old growth, especially from ‘the plateau near Lake King William’.

    Perhaps #10 could help with that, his post insinuated as much. Basil

  6. James Galbraith

    November 28, 2013 at 7:12 am

    # 11

    My point – its not Gunns doing it.

  7. James Galbraith

    November 27, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    # 2 and# 9

    There may to native forest woodchips being exported. Try the companies further up the river – Artec, Neville Smith.

    But let’s not let the truth ruin a good story

  8. Basil Fitch

    November 27, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    #2 Yes the ‘old growth’ logs trucks are certainly on the move again big time.

    From the Georgetown roundabout to the Batman Bridge (approx. 15 mins in car) there were 9 fully laden beasts heading to the chippers,last Friday week. Wonder from which coupe?

    Wealth by stealth, Korda Mentha? Basil

  9. Bung Lee

    November 25, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    re 7.
    true you make a correct point albeit in the same vain upon which this mess was created, which seems to hinder rather than help.
    May I suggest a new paradigm for you to consider?

    .that instead of busines being the business of doing business, rather that, business be about doing good, whilst going well.

    Then maybe those sacred profits being returned to Australians may be paid with some social capital.

    So instead of perpetuating the systematic dis-inheritance and corporate debt transfer of and to our children, and grand children.

    You may choose something better…
    be awesome my friend !

  10. john Hawkins

    November 25, 2013 at 10:48 am

    I am not missing the point.

    UniSuper is home grown and its members are the academic and teaching members of our Australian society.

    Their investment managers if they thought the investment in Gunns was good and have done their homework should know the ins and outs of the business and the break up value.

    It is up to them to break up the purchase and return the profit to Australians.

    That is the point it is a matter of business.

  11. Simon Warriner

    November 24, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    re 3, you are missing the point John. The point, as I have said all along, is the formation of large land holdings and the shifting of them into corporate ownership. The taxpayer has paid for round one, the investors are paying for round two, and the final buyer gets the land for pennies in the pound. Want to bet they then approach the govt of the day for a handout to clear the land to put it back into real agriculture, under the mantra of “jobs, jobs, jobs”?.

    Selling to private individuals? Not part of the plan, and never was.

  12. mike seabrook

    November 24, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    sell back adjoining land to tassie residents at half the price which previously sold adjoining land to the mis scamsters for.

    no way

    have been waiting to hear of offer outcome for several months now & presume not interested.

    saw through the caveat risk previously & did not lease or joint venture (which a lot of sucked in ( & poorly advised -they should sue the advisors) landowners signed up for). – sold marginal land outright for cash.

  13. Richard Barton

    November 24, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    #3 Given all of that, wouldn’t it make sense to purchase all of those assets, unbundle them and sell them individually for a profit?

    Good opportunity for someone with enough cash to make it happen.

  14. John Hawkins

    November 24, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Most of the money is owed to the ANZ Bank. The bank will be paid in full as a result they will not question the actions of the Receiver.

    The small Tasmanian business man, the UniSuper pension fund holder and those owed rent by the Gunns trees on their land will in all probability receive not a brass razzoo.

    I warned UniSuper on Tas Times 15. 04. 2011 that their shareholding in Gunns of 67 million shares or 8% of the company was not in the best interests of their unit holders.

    The Unit holders have now seen their pensions cut due to poor investments.

    The investment decision makers at Unisuper, if they have not been sacked, should be leading the charge to prevent the foreign acquisition of Tasmanian tree farms by using their now worthless equity to leverage a sale to benefit their own unit holders so as keep the asset in Australian hands.

    Korda Mentha will sell the asset cheaply as one line to minimise the paperwork. It is worth a great deal more broken up.

    UniSuper with 25 billion dollars under management could act as an Australian white Knight and then break up the asset at a profit so as to redeem some of its losses.

    Two years ago Gunns was for UniSuper a worthwhile investment now try and make it work for all Tasmanians.

  15. Karl Stevens

    November 24, 2013 at 10:16 am

    I’ve had information that KordaMentha is chipping native forest logs at Gunns Longreach chip mill.

  16. Pete Godfrey

    November 24, 2013 at 9:33 am

    We are seeing the results of the asset stripping out our way. Plantations are being logged and carted off well before they are really matured. Of course Korda Mentha are doing their best to look after their own profits, the bet is that they will sell the whole of Gunns supposed assetts to one company for a song, to keep their own paperwork to a minimum and then take a massive cut for their laziness.
    I pity anyone who was foolish enough to lease their land to Gunns. I still find it curious that they are not making effigies of Mr Gay and burning them.

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