Troubled fruit and vegetable wholesaler Odeum Produce allegedly owes $10 million to creditors, including the owners of the Crooked Carrot cafe and the Galati family, according to administrators.
Troubled fruit and vegetable wholesaler Odeum Produce allegedly owes $10 million to creditors, including the owners of tourist rest stop the Crooked Carrot cafe and the Galati family, according to administrators.
More than 20 potential buyers are circling the Western Australian agribusiness after administrators Brett Orzel and Stephen Dixon from Hamilton Murphy Advisory were appointed last month.
The wholesaler, which trades under well-known brands such as Mr Mushroom and Rockstar Melons, is believed to owe more than $10 million to total creditors.
The owners of the Crooked Carrot and surrounding land are believed to be owed more than $50,000, according to the minutes from a creditors meeting.
Galati Management, of which Tony Galati, his brother and son are directors, is allegedly owed a small debt of almost $6,000.
The business allegedly owes $4.5 million to its major secured creditor NAB, which has a cross collateralised facility with Freshcorp, of which Odeum is the parent company with full ownership.
It reportedly owes $5.9 million to unsecured creditors including debts owed to the Australian Taxation Office of more than $500,000.
Odeum’s managing director is believed to be owed more than $2 million.
The 89-employee strong company’s assets comprise of no cash at bank, perishable stock in the form of fruit and vegetables, debtors of $1.3 million and other equipment.
“We are unable to presently estimate what return unsecured creditors may expect as it is subject to the outcome of the sale campaign being undertaken,” the administrators said in the report.
Since their appointment, the administrators have had the view to sell or restructure the business.
The administrators are fielding more than 20 expressions of interest from potential buyers while also waiting for any potential deed of company arrangements to be proposed.
It was noted that there “may be some interest from a third party” to fund the DOCA, but this was still being developed and further details are expected to be made available later this month.
“We are continuing to trade the business with a view to either soliciting a deed of company arrangement proposal or selling the company’s business as a going concern,” the minutes read.
“Expressions of interest are due today and our current expectation is that we will require first and best final offers within the next two weeks.
“We have over 20 expressions of interest.”
Administrators said at this stage, they believe there were “good prospects of the business continuing”.
The 35-year-old agricultural wholesaler, which also trades under the name Odeum Farms, has operations in Canning Vale, Baldivis and Wanneroo and affiliated farm partners in Geraldton, Carnarvon and Kununurra.
It coordinates plantings, production, harvesting, packing and delivering throughout the nation to be sold to customers at Coles, Woolworths and Aldi.
Odeum has a 49 per cent interest in Abundance Produce Australia, an Indigenous-owned fruit and vegetable wholesaler servicing the mining industry in Western Australia.
Former West Coast Eagles player Phil Matera is the director of Perth-based Abundance.
Both Abundance and Freshcorp - a provider of fruit and vegetables to the hospitality industry - continue to trade as normal, according to the administrators.
The administrators said they were exploring opportunities for interested parties to purchase Odeum's interests in Abundance and Freshcrop.