On 15 May 2020, Scott Andersen and Ivan Glavas of Worrells Solvency and Forensic Accountants were appointed voluntary administrators of Organic Dairy Farmers of Australia Limited (ODFA).
Established in 2002 as a co-operative, today ODFA remains 100% owned by more than 40 family farmers who supply fresh, organic milk from three main dairy regions of Victoria, as well as central, and North-West Tasmania.
ODFA is the largest producer of Certified Organic milk in Australia, and operates from headquarters located at 62-66 Cowie Street in North Geelong, Victoria. Worrells advises that all ODFA operations are trading and all employees are continuing in their respective roles.
The appointment follows a range of external pressures. In particular, ODFA recruited farmers and their milk supply into the co-op, as part of their vertical integration strategy.
This growth strategy had a strong focus on exports to China through key customer partnerships. The combination of a contracting Chinese market, delayed sales, and now the impact of COVID-19, saw the directors of ODFA take the prudent measure of appointing Worrells, to facilitate a structured and transparent approach, to work through the current business challenges.
Worrells appreciates and understands the impact the appointment will have on the organisation and its members (farmers and shareholders), employees, service providers, customers, business partners, the dairy and organic industries, as well as the broader community.
Worrells advises the administration is still in its infancy and its teams are working hard to assess and determine all aspects of ODFA’s operations. All relevant and known stakeholders have been notified of ODFA’s position, provided with all relevant information and had their questions responded to.
Mr Andersen said, “Our goal, together with the co-operative’s directors, management and members, is to ensure that this integral and unique business continues to deliver its exceptional produce to Australians, and to the international market.
“We understand the enormous value and potential for the co-op. We have a robust strategy to turnaround its predicament for long-term viability and success.”
ODFA farms are Australian Certified Organic, with many also Chinese Certified. They comply with a strict set of standards. They do not use synthetic or artificially produced pesticides, herbicides, fertilisers or GMOs. Their cows are fed predominantly on pasture that is completely GMO free. The farmers have a genuine concern about the long-term health of the land and the welfare of their herds. This results in ‘happy cows and remarkable tasting milk and dairy products’.
The administrators are considering all available options for the continuation of ODFA’s operations and to minimise disruption and impact on stakeholders. Parties interested in discussing options for the acquisition or continuation of ODFA’s operations are invited to contact the Worrells Geelong office on firstname.lastname@example.org or (03) 5222 7624.
Worrells assert that the objectives of the voluntary administration regime allow businesses to address issues and if possible—with creditor approval—return it to a healthy trading prospect.
Under the voluntary administration process, a first meeting of creditors is held within eight business days of the appointment, and a second meeting of creditors is usually held within 20 to 30 business days, when creditors of ODFA will determine the future for the business.
The first meeting of creditors has been scheduled for 27 May 2020. Notice of the meeting has been issued to all creditors. Worrells will continue to proactively communicate with all impacted parties at each step in the administration.
Worrells has 33 offices nationally and 29 partners, across Qld, NSW, ACT, Vic, SA, and WA. Worrells has been providing solvency management, insolvency administration, and forensic investigation services for over 47 years; and has particular experience in administrations and company operations in the dairy industry.
(03) 5222 7624