100 Individuals, Entities Interested to Buy Australia’s Rosella

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | December 6, 2012 6:56 PM EST

Almost 100 expressions of interest from potential buyers planning to purchase all or part of the ailing Australian food icon Rosella have been collected by its receivers, raising hopes that the company and its 275 workers still have a bright future ahead.

On Monday, Gourmet Food Holdings, which owns Australia's century-old tomato sauce brand Rosella, was put in receivership as it failed to pay up its million debts that it owed to creditors, including the National Australia Bank. Steve Sherman, Jim Sarantinos and John Lindholm, Ferrier Hodgson partners, were appointed receivers and managers of Gourmet Food Holdings on Friday.

The development created enough tension and anxiety to its shocked 275 workers, especially since it's only two weeks more to go before Christmas.

But on Dec 6, Tuesday, Mr Sarantinos said the wave support gathered from customers, suppliers and transport providers supplied him the confidence that the business entity would continue in operation, and eventually be sold to a new owner.

"If we continue to receive this valuable support from customers, suppliers and transport operators, the business should be able to continue operating and employees will keep their jobs," he said.

"Given the level of interest in the business amongst potential buyers, I have an increasing degree of confidence that the group has a future."

A preliminary review of entitlements as well as the company's assets revealed all employee entitlements will be paid in full, according to Mr Sarantinos, regardless of the sale process conclusion.

"This should provide the group's 275 staff with a degree of confidence going into the Christmas period," he said.

Gourmet Food Holdings owns sauce, spice and chutney manufacturer Rosella, based at Seven Hills, NSW; Auckland-based organic soups and pre-made meals maker Pitango; and crispbreads and cracker-maker Waterwheel, based in Dandenong, Victoria.

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