NSW flour mill and canola processor settle legal dispute


ABC Premium News (Australia)

After more than a year of mediation, insurance companies for former Aust Asia Milling and Cootamundra Oilseeds have reached an out of court settlement.

Last year the mill's administrator, John Vouris of Sydney firm Lawler Partners, launched legal action against the Riverina canola processing company over allegedly supplying contaminated stockfeed to the flour mill at Young, in the south-west Slopes of New South Wales.

The embattled Young Flour Mill went into voluntary administration in July 2012, owing creditors more than $9 million.

The business was sold in October that year to Melbourne-based Quayle Milling.

A month later the mill's administrator announced, that in order to recover further funds owed to creditors, it would sue Cootamundra Oilseeds over a previous dispute.John Vouris alleged Australia's largest cold pressing canola company supplied the flour mill with contaminated meal, which the mill processed, sold to clients, resulting in some livestock deaths.

The claim was defended by Cootamundra Oilseeds.

Mr Vouris says a settlement with Cootamundra Oilseeds has now been reached.

"Unfortunately it's a confidential sum of money that we recovered.

"However I can tell you, it was insufficient to enable a distribution to unsecured creditors."

Chairman of Cootamundra Oilseeds Michael Betar maintains the company did nothing wrong.

"As far as the matter was concerned, there was arguments both sides, but it was resolved in the end, as a logical conclusion.

"There were issues related to the feed, but it was never conclusively proved."

Mr Betar says the company hasn't lost any business as a result of the recent legal action and its still forging ahead with a new $10 million processing plant in Cootamundra.

Administrator John Vouris is now contemplating whether his firm will take further action against the directors of former Aust Asia Milling for allegedly trading while insolvent.

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