Power cut

Lauren CelenzaCountryman

Creditors will meet next week to determine the fate of embattled machinery dealership, Farmpower.

The business, which has five dealerships in WA, went into receivership in October citing drought as the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Since then, administrator RSM Bird Cameron has been trading Farmpower as normal, while a proposal to restructure the company can be organised.

Administrator Greg Dudley said a meeting with creditors next week would determine the company’s fate.

“I’m very confident that Farmpower will be restructured, ” he said.

“A creditors meeting was held on November 16, which was adjourned until next week.

“Since then, operations have been funded by Case New Holland to allow themselves, or a third party, time to put a proposal to us.”

A proposal will go out to creditors this week and if there is agreement, Mr Dudley said restructure would progress swiftly.

“The proposal in its current form enables the company to move forward, employees to be maintained and the administrators to pay out a return to creditors, ” he said.

“We hope to come out of the meeting with a firm restructure plan and a timeline for the cessation of administration and return of the company to normal trading.”

Currently owned by the directors, Farmpower’s restructure will see a transfer of shares to the purchaser.

Quairading Shire president Darryl Richards said the ramifications of last year and the drought had taken a heavy toll, not just on farmers, but rural service providers.

“The administration of Farmpower is really unfortunate, ” he said. “It’s a big blow for the town, and we would love someone to take over the shop.

“Going through the driest year on record, I think a lot of farmers have handled it really well. Quairading has handled it very well.

“But when farmers aren’t making money, they aren’t spending it, and the town’s businesses suffer.”

Dangin farmer Vincent Hadlow, who relies on Quairading Farmpower for his machinery maintenance, said one good year would get farmers buying again.

“The drought put a lot of financial pressure on everyone and we worry about what is going to happen in the future if we can’t carry on, ” he said.

“It’s critical to have a local machinery dealer; I would be surprised if someone doesn’t take it over.

“Not only do we have to get our machinery fixed, but it creates employment in the town.”

Mr Hadlow said many less than average seasons meant buying machinery was not possible.

“But you only have to have a couple of good seasons and everything becomes good again, ” he said.

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