Coolstore receivers millions off target

JONO GALUSZKA
Last updated 12:00 22/09/2012

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A company formerly run by bankrupted businessman Ken Thurston still owes nearly $14 million at the end of its receivership.

But the chances of that money being paid back are minimal as there are no assets left to sell.

Aotearoa Coolstores, a company based around the meatworks facility in Longburn, was placed into receivership two years ago.

The receivership - run by Grant Thornton - ended this week, but the company is still in liquidation.

The latest receiver's report, signed off by David Ruscoe, states that all assets belonging to the company have been sold.

But despite this, the company still owes ANZ Bank $4.5 millon and South Canterbury Finance $10 million.

South Canterbury Finance, which itself went into receivership in 2010, was originally owed $13.9 million, but took control and sold land in Feilding owned by Aotearoa Coolstores to pay off debts.

The sale of those properties netted SCF about $3.9 million.

Final financial statements from the receivership showed $5,720,327 was made by receivers while they were in charge of the company, including $3.3 million from the sale of property.

However, they managed to spend $5,720,328 during the receivership - $1 more than what they earned.

That spend included $3.4 million in payments to secured creditors.

Inland Revenue had lodged a claim for about $544,000 in unpaid taxes, as well as outstanding Kiwisaver, student loan and child support payments.

It is unclear from the report if this was paid back or not.

The report said there would be no money to pay any of the unsecured creditors.

Aotearoa Coolstores was placed into liquidation on August 12, 2010 over a $130,501 debt to GA Services.

Mr Thurston, who used to live in Feilding but has since moved to Turangi, was once the director of 14 companies, but was declared bankrupt in October 2010. Three farms owned by him, with a total land area of 1270ha, were sold to state-owned enterprise Landcorp last year.

Proceeds went toward paying creditors of Tawera Land Company, owed more than $45 million.

Mr Thurston could not be contacted for comment.

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- The Manawatu Standard

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