5 Sep 2012

Mussel processing factory in receivership

7:49 pm on 5 September 2012

New Zealand's largest mussel processing factory has been placed into receivership, threatening 20 permanent and 200 seasonal jobs.

North Island Mussel Processors is a joint venture owned by Sanford, Sealord and Greenshell New Zealand.

The $23 million factory in Tauranga was set up two years ago.

Sanford managing director Eric Barratt says Greenshell has been unable to pay $1.2 million in processing fees over the past six months.

Mr Barratt told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Wednesday that North Island Mussel Processors can't operate without this financial input.

"We need to pay people wages, we need to pay suppliers for goods and services, we need to pay interest to the bank - and we can't do that without funding of processing."

Sanford says it and Sealord are working with receivers William Black and Andrew Grenfell from McGrathNicol to find out if processing operations can start once the Coromandel mussel season begins in mid-October.