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Australis Aquaculture Goes Under

AUSTRALIA - Australis Aquaculture has called in administrators, becoming the second aquaculture player to collapse in as many months after failing to secure enough money to stem its cash burn and stay afloat.

Administrator Mervyn Kitay, of accountancy firm WHK Horwath, confirmed yesterday he was appointed to the Perth-headquartered barramundi farmer on Thursday after attempts to roll over a $3 million short-term working capital loan failed.

News organisation, The West, reported that the group is estimated to have liabilities of about $6 million, split between Australia and the US.

According to The West, a move by the US Food & Drug Administration late last year to quarantine some of Australis’ product containers at Vietnam ports in the wake of China’s tainted milk scandal is believed to have exacerbated the group’s cash crisis.

Mr Kitay is due to travel to the US, where Australis runs most of its operations, next week to meet the company’s directors before a creditors’ meeting in Perth on 28 January.

It is unclear whether the group will have enough cash to continue the dayto-day running of its operations, which could put $6 million worth of frozen and live stock at its US and Viet Nam facilities at risk.

In a press release, Managing Director Josh Goldman said: "Australis management and employees are totally focused on maintaining the continuity of our growing operations and providing uninterrupted supply and service to our customers as we restructure. We sincerely appreciate the support and understanding of our employees and industry partners as we work our way through this transition.

the Fish Site Editor

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