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The Mitolo Group buys major parts of bankrupt Oakville Produce - formerly Australia's largest fresh potato supplier

The Mitolo Group buys major parts of bankrupt Oakland Produce - Australia's largest fresh potato supplie

South Australian fresh produce company the Mitolo Group has taken control of all South Australian-owned farms of bankrupt Oakville Produce, as well as packaging businesses in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney - as of September 23.

October 4, 2016
Peak vegetable industry body AUSVEG says the sale of Australia's largest fresh potato supplier should give growers confidence after months of uncertainty.

South Australian-based Oakville Produce went into voluntary administration in May.

Deloitte Restructuring Service partners Vaughan Strawbridge, David Lombe and Tim Heenan were appointed joint receivers and managers of the Oakville Produce group of companies.

In a statement to ABC Rural, a Deloitte spokesman said all Oakville assets had now been sold.

The spokesman said that as of September 23, South Australian fresh produce company the Mitolo Group had taken control of all South Australian-owned farms, as well as packaging businesses in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

The completion of the sale of Oakville-owned farms in New South Wales to another buyer is expected in November.

The Mitolo Group is a potato and onion packing company with more than three decades of experience in fresh produce.

'Established force' has plan for growers

AUSVEG spokesman Jordan Brooke-Barnett said the Mitolo Group was an "established force within the industry". Jordan Brooke-Barnett:

"The positive news here is that there seems to be a plan moving forward for the growers growing those varieties."

"You'd hope that Mitolo would find a market for the Oakville produce."
Since Oakville went into receivership, there have been reports of suppliers going unpaid.

Following these accusations, AUSVEG called for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, to investigate the Oakville collapse.

But there has been no update on such an investigation, and AUSVEG has confirmed it will wait and see how the Mitolo Group moves forward following the sale.

Mr Brooke-Barnett said AUSVEG was aware of issues of non-payment to growers.

But he said those kinds of issues were common when "pack houses go under".

Jordan Brooke-Barnett:

"When these things happen it's tough, and receiving payment is always an issue."

"But in finding a new buyer for the business, hopefully a lot of those supply issues moving forward can be dealt with."
Companies in this Article
The Australian Vegetable and Potato Growers Federation (AUSVEG) represents the interests of all Australian vegetable growers.
The Mitolo Group - formerly known as Comit Farm Produce - is the leading potato and onion packing company based in South Australia.
Oakville Produce (formerly known as the Moraitis Group) was the biggest fresh potato business in Australia, good for 23 per cent of Australia's AU$625 million potato market. in May 2016, the company went into receivership and is currently for sale.