Abalone business in receivership again

RECEIVERSHIP: McGrathNicol is hoping to find new owners for Ocean Abalone Australia.
RECEIVERSHIP: McGrathNicol is hoping to find new owners for Ocean Abalone Australia.

The search is on to find new owners for Ocean Abalone Australia after the company went into receivership for the third time.

The Elliston-based business has been put into receivership with McGrathNicol overseeing it.

Receiver/manager Peter Anderson from McGrathNicol said the business would continue to trade as new owners were sought.

“We’re undertaking a sale campaign with ads going in (newspapers) today or in the next day or so,” he said last week.

“We will be looking to find a buyer for the assets very quickly.”

Mr Anderson said the business was affected by the storms in September last year, which exasperated problems it was already experiencing.

McGrathNicol is looking for buyers for the business and its three facilities - a sea farm at Elliston, a land farm at Streaky Bay and a processing facility at Port Pirie.

Ocean Abalone Australia was formerly known as Australian Bight Abalone, which was sold to new owners in 2014.

McGrathNicol was appointed voluntary administrators when the business went into receivership in 2012.

The business also went into receivership in 2009 before being handed back to management in 2010.

The company also faced legal issues in 2012 after former investors filed a class action law suit, claiming they were misled about the number of abalone deaths.

Mr Anderson said there would be no job losses at this stage.

“Everyone is still employed in the business,” he said.

“The hope is we get a new owner and the hope is everyone keeps their job.”

McGrathNicol has started the sale process for Ocean Abalone Australia, which is expected to last about two months.

Mr Anderson said it would only be at the end of the sale process that the picture would emerge of what would happen with the business.

“Our strong hope is that the business can continue,” he said.