Mackay Sugar hits at threat of law suit

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Shane Ni­chols

MACKAY Sugar has lashed a group of mi­nor­ity share­hold­ers who have threat­ened le­gal ac­tion over the com­pany’s pro­posed $2 a tonne levy on grow­ers.

In a state­ment last night, Mackay Sugar said the le­gal ac­tion would put the com­pany’s fu­ture in jeop­ardy.

The com­pany was adamant it was stick­ing to the pro­posed $2 levy.

The le­gal ac­tion would “se­verely limit” man­age­ment’s op­tions in deal­ing with the cur­rent prob­lems, and in­deed “may ul­ti­mately take the con­trol of these de­ci­sions away from the com­pany”.

Mackay Sugar’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, Ja­son Lowry, said many of the as­sump­tions in re­la­tion to the pro­posed le­gal ac­tion are wrong, par­tic­u­larly in terms of the op­tions that would be avail­able for Mackay Sugar if the move was successful.

“Sev­eral of the pro­po­nents of this ac­tion have been in­volved pre­vi­ously in failed moves to con­sider the sale of Mackay Sugar ei­ther through a float­ing of the Com­pany or via a straight takeover,” Mr Lowry said.

“The re­cent sur­vey of Mackay Sugar grow­ers clearly iden­ti­fied that only 40 per cent of the grow­ers polled agreed to sell­ing the busi­ness. For the Board to achieve a sale, 75 per cent of share­hold­ers would need to vote to sup­port the sale.

“The pro­po­nents know it is un­likely that such a vote would be achieved.”

He said it may ap­pear that some share­hold­ers were try­ing to achieve a sale of the com­pany.

Mr Lowry said “Mackay Sugar grow­ers and share­hold­ers needed to clearly un­der­stand that if the op­tion to de­liver the pre­ferred ap­proach via the $2 per tonne con­tri­bu­tion by grow­ers was re­moved, fur­ther de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of the as­set base would likely force a de­ci­sion to sell the busi­ness due to the debt sit­u­a­tion.”

He said, “I thought we had made it clear to grow­ers in re­cent meet­ings and com­mu­ni­ca­tions that Mackay Sugar was truly at a cross­roads.”

Miguel Maestre, Casey Wil­letts, Jesse Wil­letts and Chris Brown

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