Receivers: Isabel vineyard owes millions

CHLOE WINTER
Last updated 09:14 04/09/2014

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Isabel Estate Vineyard has debts of more than $12.4 million.

The first receiver's report, released this week, showed the company, owned by Michael and Robyn Tiller, owed $12.457m to its creditors. Their company went into receivership on July 2 with other entities Isabel Estate Partnership and Shelby Estate Ltd, which together trade as Isabel Estate.

In the report, receivers Richard Longman and John Fisk, of PricewaterhouseCoopers, said they were appointed "primarily due to cash flow pressures resulting from certain high cost supply contracts, compounded by low vineyard yields in recent vintages leading to unprofitable trading".

An Isabel Estate Vineyard spokesman declined to comment when contacted by the Express yesterday.

Isabel Estate Vineyard owes $12.41m to the Bank of New Zealand.

It was unknown how much money the other entities owed to the bank.

The company also owes $47,000 to its preferential creditors, including $9000 to NZ Customs and Excise and $9000 to the BNZ for wages and salary payments.

The company also owed $29,000 to its 15 employees for unpaid wages, salary and holiday pay.

However, since the appointment of receivers, $22,000 has been paid.

Money owed to other secured creditors was yet to be calculated.

To date, unsecured creditors of the company were owed $79,000 but that figure was "likely to increase", the report said.

The company's assets include an estimated 2 hectares of land containing a 700-tonne winery and ancillary buildings, certain vineyard and winery plant and equipment, 450,000 litres of bulk wine in tanks and barrels, propriety right to the "Isabel" and "Dr Renwick" trading brands and motor vehicles.

The process of identifying all the companies' assets was incomplete but there were "unlikely to be any funds available for unsecured creditors".

The Tillers established the company in 1982.

In May, they called for investors to buy shares in the company to help them expand their business.

The receivers continue to trade the business in a "limited capacity while a sale process is undertaken".

The tender closes on September 16.

The receivers' six-month report is due on March 2 next year.

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- The Marlborough Express

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