North Island Mussel Processors put into receivership

The company made headlines in 2009 when it opened the world's first automated mussel-opening machine at its Tauranga plant.

BUSINESSDESK: North Island Mussel Processors is being placed in receivership after the owner of its one-third shareholder, Greenshell Investments, failed to pay $1.2 million in processing fees and associated debt.

North Island Mussel made the headlines in 2009 when it adopted the world's first automated mussel-opening machine at its Tauranga plant – a $23 million expansion that was opened by Prime Minister John Key.

Listed fishing company Sanford and Sealord Group, which own the remaining two-thirds of North Island Mussel, will work with the receivers "to see if mussel processing operations can commence once the new Coromandel mussel season starts in mid-October this year and to protect the jobs of 20 full time staff and 200 additional workers employed on a seasonal basis," a statement from Sanford says.

The receivership will not have a material effect on Sanford's financial results or banking covenants, Sanford managing director Eric Barratt says.

North Island Mussel is a toll processor for its shareholders, who export Greenshell mussels. As at midday today, a notice of receivership was not visible on the Companies Office website.

Shares of Sanford fell 0.5% to $3.85 and have slipped 5% this year.

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