News

Murray Goulburn shell company goes into liquidation

By Geoff Adams

The remaining assets of former dairy co-operative, Murray Goulburn, have been placed into voluntary liquidation.

Most of the assets of the once dominating dairy processor were sold to Saputo in 2018, but a shell company remained to finance litigation and pay for the costs of winding up the company.

The company had its roots in northern Victoria in 1950. Before it was sold it had assets of more than $1 billion and annual revenues of more than $2 billion. At its height it was the largest buyer of raw milk and employed several thousand people.

A report to the special meeting on June 26 put the total assets of the remaining company at $264 million, with $259 million of that in cash.

Shareholders will stand to benefit from a distribution within three to four months and a final distribution of the funds in 12 to 18 months.

The company paid $443 million to shareholders and unit holders immediately after the sale of the company to Saputo.

The company has settled two class actions against it, brought by the Endeavour River Group and the Webster Group.

Murray Goulburn said the Endeavour River claim was settled for $42 million and the Webster action for $37.5 million.

At the extraordinary meeting on June 26, five resolutions were carried including the winding up of Murray Goulburn and the appointment of liquidators. The votes were carried with an overwhelming majority.

Liquidators are John Lindholm and George Georges of KPMG.

ASIC is continuing proceedings against former managing director Gary Helou and former chief financial officer Brad Hingle.

A trial date has been set for September 28, but court ordered mediation is ongoing.