Bull firm leaves creditors unpaid

JONO GALUSZKA
Last updated 12:00 04/01/2013

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A family-run bull fattening company has paid back creditors only $291 since it was placed into liquidation 18 months ago.

The latest liquidation report for Manawatu-based Capehorn Farming, released yesterday, showed $3664 in tax refunds had been acquired to help pay creditors left out of pocket.

However, only $291 had been paid.

Capehorn Farming was placed into receivership in late 2010, owing almost $12 million.

The company is 20 per cent owned by Peter Joseph Nitschke, with relatives Mark and Helen Nitschke owning the rest.

No unsecured creditors were paid any money from the receivership, while secured creditors were paid only about $80,000.

The first liquidator's report, put together by Grant Reynolds, said no assets were left from the receivership to pay any creditors for the liquidation.

Peter Nitschke is serving a jail term of two years and three months after pleading guilty to seven charges relating to about $2.3m that he obtained dishonestly from the business.

Capehorn was incorporated in 2001 and rapidly expanded. At one point, it managed more than 20,000 bulls.

But while the company's owners were expecting a big jump in revenue, falling beef prices in 2010 saw the company hit hard times.

Nitschke then falsified invoices to livestock financiers StockCo, totalling $881,007, for bulls that did not exist or were to be sold.

That money was used to pay creditors.

He then arranged a $1.5m loan with BNZ to repay StockCo to avoid an audit of the stock.

Nitschke was charged after a Serious Fraud Office investigation into Capehorn. He quickly admitted his fraud after receivers were called in.

Another company part-owned by Nitschke - Waituna Valley Transport - was placed into liquidation last year.

While the liquidation of Capehorn is still in progress, Waituna was wound up in two months after liquidator David Vance found no assets to sell.

As a result, creditors missed out on $179,211 and liquidators had to forfeit $9751 in fees.

About $77,000 of that was unpaid tax owed to Inland Revenue, made up of GST and income tax, along with overdue KiwiSaver payments.

Nitschke is facing bankruptcy as BNZ chases him for $841,942.

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- Manawatu Standard

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