Pictured at the launch of Featherston Resources in March
2011, chief executive at that time Emma Weston and chairman
Tim Goodacre at the Taieri plant, with raw diatomite from
Middlemarch for processing into fertiliser pellets for
export to Australia. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Almost three years after launching its
multimillion-dollar fertiliser export company on the Taieri
Plain, private Australian-owned company Featherston Resources
has been placed in receivership.
While having spent more than $11 million by the March 2011
launch of its $1 million Envirofocus Ltd manufacturing plant
on Dukes Rd at Taieri, supplied from a Middlemarch diatomite
mine, Featherston subsequently reported consecutive losses in
2012 and 2013 - totalling more than $5.7 million.
Up to eight staff were expected to be working at the
Taieri-based Envirofocus manufacturing plant, targeting the
annual processing of 10,000 tonnes of dolomite worth more
than $9 million at 2011 prices.
However, revenues during the 2012-13 financial years totalled
just $307,000, of which $106,000 was product sales and
$186,000 was from foreign currency gains, while operating
expenses totalled $6.35 million, according to Featherston's
financial report for the year ending March 2013.
In the past financial year it was recorded more than
$A700,000 was committed to Featherston by directors or
At the time, Featherston was reported to be in negotiation
with two investors whose investment could improve liquidity
''between $A4 million and $A10 million'', which directors had
expected to be completed by the end of 2013.
Envirofocus Ltd is a subsidiary company 100% owned by
Featherston, but is also in administration and receivership.
The receiver's first report is due in March.
Concerns about Featherstone's future were flagged by auditors
Crowe Howarth in the company's full-year report to March
2012, which ''cast doubt'' over its viability and imminent
need to secure additional capital financing, at a time when
its total liabilities exceeded total assets.
On December 13, Auckland voluntary administrator Rodgers
Reidy Ltd was appointed, as was Sydney-based receiver
Woodgate & Co. A creditors meeting in Auckland was
scheduled for next Thursday, January 23.
There has not been a receiver's first report on Featherston
lodged yet. Attempts to contact administrators Rodgers Reidy
Ltd and receiver Woodgate & Co, both in Australia,
yesterday were unsuccessful.
Court documents obtained by the ODT show that in December and
January, in the Supreme Court of New South Wales and later
the High Court in Dunedin, the validity of the appointed
administrators was disputed, with a separate order this week
from the Dunedin court fixing a hearing in the High Court in
Christchurch in early February.
One source, who did not want to be identified, said the
administration and receivership were ''very complicated'' and
many parties involved were not in agreement over the
The proceedings cover Featherston Resources, Envirofocus Ltd
and another Featherston subsidiary, Australian incorporated
company Adveco Fertilisers Pty Ltd, the dolomite marketing
company, which is also in receivership.
The source said the ''business [Envirofocus] was in
abeyance'' and he hoped it could be reopened ''soon'' and
that the dolomite mine in the Maniototo ''remained a major
It appears from copies of recent court documents the
administration and receivership proceedings began in the
Supreme Court of New South Wales in early December, on
filings by a shareholder and former employee.
The private company Featherston Resources Ltd was registered
in December 1997 and had five directors. The two from New
Zealand were John Cook, from the Bay of Plenty, and James
McLean, of Auckland. Three were from Australia. They were:
Tim Goodacre, of Victoria, Christopher Watts, also of
Victoria, and Emma Weston, of New South Wales.
In late 2008, Featherston had 57.1 million shares with more
than 140 separate shareholders, Companies Office records
showed. At the time of receivership in December it had 96.9
million ordinary shares on issue and 217 share allocations,
spread across New Zealand - including several individuals
around Otago - Australia and one from the Cayman Islands.