Farm giant goes under

CHILDERS-based tomato growing giant SP Exports has gone into voluntary administration following months of financial difficulty.

The move comes just days after the company signed a contract with the Isis Central Sugar Mill which that will give the mill the option to buy about 1000 hectares of property that SP Exports put up for sale in a bid to save the company.

Company director Andrew Philip said he felt he had no choice but to place his family business into voluntary administration.

"That happened on Friday," Mr Philip said.

KordaMentha partners John Shanahan and Ginette Muller have been appointed as the administrators.

"We're investigating what's been going on," Mr Shanahan said.

"A creditors' meeting will be held on February 29 (where) we'll set out what we're proposing to do."

Mr Shanahan said the future of the company would depend on what came out of the investigation.

"We've got limited trading at the moment," he said.

"We're trying to continue to supply stock as we can."

Early this month, Real Estate Now realtor Mark Mergard said 22 title deeds making up eight properties were being sold off by SP Exports.

Isis Central Sugar Mill general manager John Gorringe said a contract had been entered into for seven of the eight properties on offer.

"It's a complicated arrangement," he said.

"We've entered into an option agreement that will give us the option to enter into conditional contracts on the properties.

"We've got about a month to exercise the option and then we would go into a normal conditional contract."

SP Exports has had a tough run in recent years, with $1 million damage done to a crop by spray drift in March 2011, $7 million of seedlings killed in a sabotage attack in July 2011, and $5 million damage caused by the December floods in 2010.

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