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Creditors’ support for Wakefield very encouraging, says Deloitte

Contact: Simon Wallace-Smith
+61 (0) 3 9208 7614

Contact: Petros Kosmopoulos
Media & Communications
+61 (0) 3 9208 7621

Contact: Vessa Playfair
Director of Media & Communications
+61 (0) 2 9322 7576

The level of support provided to Wakefield* at today’s first creditors’ meeting is very encouraging said the Administrator of the Mildura-based group of transport companies.

Simon Wallace-Smith, Deloitte Corporate Reorganisation Group partner, said the creditors have expressed a strong desire to ensure that the businesses are able to continue their operations.

“They understand the importance of the Wakefield group of companies continuing to trade and what this means for Mildura and the surrounding district,” Mr Wallace-Smith said.

“In fact, a number of customers have indicated they are keen to increase the volume of freight they give to the group of companies.”

The creditors were today given a brief report detailing the various operations conducted by Wakefield and actions undertaken by the Administrator to date.

The Administrator is continuing to trade the group of companies, has commenced the sale of business campaign and is investigating the financial position of the company.

Mr Wallace-Smith explained to the creditors the reason for the appointment of the Administrators was the reduced volumes for the freight business due to the drought, high Australian dollar and rail issues.

“Wakefield has also commenced a new business called Storage and Distribution Network Pty Ltd which is a freight distribution operation servicing the wine industry. It has taken longer to establish and has significant I.T. costs. This has led to a drain of cash from the main freight business,” Mr Wallace-Smith said.

He added the business has been advertised for sale this week with the “initial level of enquiry having been very positive”. Initial expressions of interest will close on Monday, 14th April 2008. Wakefield directors are also looking to see if a Deed of Company Arrangement can also be put to creditors.

Due to the sale of business process and the expected timing, it is the Administrator’s intention to seek an extension to calling the second meeting of creditors. The future of the company will be determined at this meeting.  Creditors will vote to either: (a) end the Administration, (b) execute a Deed of Company Arrangement; or (c) place the company in Liquidation.

* The Wakefield Group is a transport and logistics company employing 75 people with depots in Adelaide, Barossa Valley, Melbourne, Sydney and Queensland. The Group offers services to domestic and international markets. A range of large blue chip companies through to medium size wine companies make up the customer base.

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