Receivers are hoping to keep the Rosella tomato sauce name alive. Photo: Marina Oliphant
Gourmet Food Holdings, the parent company of iconic tomato sauce brand Rosella, has been placed in receivership, following the appointment of administrators on Friday.
Receivers Ferrier Hodgson said other businesses within the group, including Pitango, based in New Zealand, and Waterwheel, based in Dandenong, were also under receivership.
The move comes after creditors failed to find a buyer for the business, and placed the group under voluntary administration last week.
Ferrier Hodgson partner Steve Sherman said his firm would be "undertaking an urgent assessment of the financial position of the group." "We will be engaging in discussions with key stakeholders including employees, customers and suppliers to determine whether operations can be continued."
Gourmet Food Holdings and Waterwheel employ less than 300 people across Australia and New Zealand combined. The Australian employees are split between Victoria and New South Wales.
A spokesman for Ferrier Hodgson said it was “business as usual” for Rosella and Waterwheel workers.
He said an expressions-of-interest campaign would be launched in the next 24-48 hours to try to find a buyer for the groups.
Waterwheel manufactures baked snacking products under the Waterthins, Waterwheel and Roccas brands. The Waterthins range was launched in 1998.
The group employs about 275 people, who have been warned that their jobs could be affected by some restructuring of the companies.
"The receivers cannot guarantee continued employment, however, it is the receivers' intention to explore all options to ensure that your employment can be preserved," Ferrier Hodgson said in a statement to employees.
"We will endeavour to provide you with a further update as soon as possible.
"At this stage, we are unable to determine whether employee entitlements will be paid in full due to uncertainty surrounding the realisable value of floating charge assets and the prospects of securing a sale of the business."
There were a total of 80 production staff at the company’s Seven Hills site, with 40 employees working in the morning shift and 40 in the afternoon shift, an Australian Manufacturing Workers Union spokeswoman said.
With Glenda Kwek, AAP