Staff fear Coca-Cola plans to shut down production at the Cooroy factory, sack all 85 employees and truck the water to Brisbane for bottling.
Staff fear Coca-Cola plans to shut down production at the Cooroy factory, sack all 85 employees and truck the water to Brisbane for bottling.

Six days to save company

THE owner of Cooroy Mountain Group is confident he can come up with millions of dollars in six days to save his company.

Administrator Robert Hutson, from KordaMentha, said Greg Dinsley had until Tuesday to prove he has the finance to continue trading.

Mr Dinsley said he was "very close" to finalising a Deed of Company Arrangement which would save the company from certain closure and protect the jobs of the 63 employees.

"We are putting an offer forward to pay our creditors," Mr Dinsley said.

"We are working feverishly towards this. We are right on the brink of bringing in the DOCA.

"It will be the best offer as we need the company to trade on."

Mr Hutson said he was not confident Mr Dinsley would secure the cash before the deadline.

He said Mr Dinsley had been given several extensions to come up with the finance.

"They told us they'd have an offer in for finance in January, then it was mid February, then they told us they'd have an offer by Friday last week," Mr Hutson said.

"I have to issue a report to creditors by Tuesday (ahead of the next creditors' meeting scheduled for March 30).

Mr Hutson said while he had had a "dozen" inquiries into the Cooroy Mountain Group, which includes Cooroy Mountain Spring Water and Wimmers soft drinks, none of them were about keeping the business as a going concern.

This would mean someone could continue producing the product, but at their plant instead of on the Sunshine Coast.

"Part of that reflects the fact people might like the brands, but it is not that efficient to manufacture them at Cooroy," Mr Hutson said.

"If there are no offers for the business as going concerns the business will have to cease trading and the remaining assets will be sold off."

Mr Hutson said if this scenario was accepted, it was unlikely the unsecured creditors would be paid.

A report to creditors in September said the company appeared to have been insolvent since last April.

Mr Hutson said the report showed the group had debts in excess of $20 million.

 

I'll fight to the death

The owner of a prominent Sunshine Coast water company has promised he will "fight to the death" to stop a takeover of the business by Coca-Cola.

It was confirmed yesterday the multi-national company was bidding to buy the Cooroy Mountain Group - which includes Cooroy Mountain Spring Water and Wimmers softdrinks.

The group went into administration last September.

Staff fear Coca-Cola plans to shut down production at the Cooroy factory, sack all 85 employees and truck the water to Brisbane for bottling.

Cooroy Mountain Group owner Greg Dinsley said he was trying to organise finance to stop the takeover.

"Our offer is going on the table with Coke's offer and as long as I am alive and able, I will bid on the company," he said.

"I am frantically trying to organise finance to stop their hostile takeover, so jobs can stay on the Coast."

Rumours began flying yesterday that Coca-Cola had won the bid for the company when the company's administrators announced 20 staff had been laid off because of poor trading.

Mr Dinsley said those reports were 100% incorrect.

"There is restructure going on but we are definitely not sold," he said yesterday.

"We are still in administration and yes, Coca-Cola is on the table bidding, but that is as far as it has gone."

Cooroy Mountain Springs has been operating on the Coast since 1991.

The administrators said they would be looking at further restructuring ahead of a meeting which will decide the fate of the locally owned company on March 30.

 



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