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Australia: After major setback, Maria's Farm hopes for completion with help of new investors
This was the second flood for the multi million dollar greenhouse project of Maria's Farm. "The floods came when the greenhouse project was nearly completed, it was finished 70%", said Disselkoen, founder and major chairholder of Maria's Farm. "It happened right after the Christmas break, and many of the Dutch greenhouse builders were still in Holland on leave. When they returned there was 80 centimeters of water standing in the structure."
After the floods, Disselkoen and his group immediately started to construct a water levy around the greenhouse in order to protect it from any future events.
But the flood, which is said to only occur once in a century, caused a huge delay for Disselkoen's project.
The unfinished Maria's Farm project in Williamtown, NSW, Australia
"As we were already behind schedule due to an earlier flood, it was hard to cope with another delay. We are covered for damage and floods by insurance, however it will take a long time before the insurance companies will reimburse us. A lot of the material was damaged and we could not continue the build."
The delay will also cause a year's delay to grant Maria's Farm a $ 13,5 million R&D Tax Offset Refund. This eventually forced Disselkoen to place the company into voluntary administration. "It was the only option left to protect the company from further damage, as we already used 65 million dollars of the available 43% equity and 57% debt capital for the project. We are now seeking a partner that wants to help us in financing the last part of the project to get it up and running so we can finally start growing."
Disselkoen said that he is urgently looking for a like-minded partner who is interested to participate with the last 20% or 25% of debt or equity finance to complete the project. "Then we can start producing 13.000 tons per year of pesticide free high wire cucumbers and truss tomatoes. We already have a guaranteed sales contract with Flavorite for the first five years of production, so we are all set to go. Within 4 months we can have the entire farm up and running. Any parties interested are invited to contact me."
The Maria's Farm project is located 160 Km above Sydney, near the airport of Newcastle. This provides extra opportunities, for example for Asian investors as there is an opportunity for export to Asian markets.
For more information:
Cor Disselkoen - Maria's Farm