Gaypak yields to rising debt
Gayndah business forced to privatise after dwindling members
GAYNDAH Packers Co-operative Association (Gaypak) was forced to privatise this week due to mounting debt and dwindling grower members.
The new company, led by three former co-operative members, was back in operation yesterday packing lemons and limes, with a “more efficient and more streamlined” vision.
“We are open for business,” new co-owner and former Gaypak boss Ian Shepherd said.
DWINDLING membership in the Gayndah Packers Co-operative (Gaypak) has forced the business to privatise this week.
The wind-up of the 41-year-old co-operative came after the number of grower members declined from 50 in 2011 to “about seven” this year, amid dissatisfaction with its “traditional business structure”.
Former Gaypak chairman and new co-owner Ian Shepherd described the move as a fresh start with new opportunities.
“The new owners are working closely with their staff to determine their new roles in a smaller, leaner business structure,” Mr Shepherd said.
“They (owners) anticipate a similar number of seasonal staff as past years, and are expecting 2015 to be a larger crop this year.”
Former co-operative employees were interviewed for positions on Tuesday, and the packing shed was in operation again yesterday.
The new company, Gayndah Packers Ltd, had inherited a volume of citrus similar to 15 years ago, and packing contracts with growers would be pursued “without the past restrictions of co-operative membership structure and rules”.
Mr Shepherd said past members had left to cut costs after several tough seasons, leaving a growing debt for continuing members – a debt that would be impossible to sustain.
“In order to refinance the business, structure needed to change and private ownership was the only option available,” he said.