Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Bid to keep control of Yarrows in Oz fails

Paul Yarrow owned Manaia-based Yarrows until it was placed in receivership last year. Photo / Thnkstock
Paul Yarrow owned Manaia-based Yarrows until it was placed in receivership last year. Photo / Thnkstock

The New Zealand former owner of Taranaki-based baking giant Yarrows has lost his bid to retain control of the Australian arm of the business.

Paul Yarrow, who owned Manaia-based Yarrows (The Bakers) until it was placed in receivership last year, succeeded this year in getting five businessmen removed from the boards of three Australian subsidiaries which were not covered by the receivership.

He was scheduled to defend his actions in the New South Wales Supreme Court on Friday.

However, in an 11th-hour development BDO, the receivers of the New Zealand-based Yarrows group, opposed Paul Yarrow's removal order.

Following a discussion in chambers before the hearing was due to begin, Justice Ashley Black ordered the matter settled and the previous directors reinstated.

Receiver Brian Mayo Smith of BDO refused to comment on his firm's action or on NZ First leader Winston Peters' allegations of a conspiracy by his firm and Yarrows' directors and its bank, Westpac, to wrest control of the company from Yarrow.

Under the protection of parliamentary privilege, Peters on Wednesday said the affair was "a story of how an Australian bank, some Ned Kellys across the Ditch and some local business people, robbed a small New Zealand town of its livelihood".

Those involved included accountant Warren Duncan, Trevor Perry and Colin Pettigrew who were connected with Yarrows, and Paul Yarrow's financial adviser Michael Finnigan, Peters said.

Peters also named Mayo-Smith and Nick Hale from Westpac Bank.

"These people conspired to bring down Yarrows from within."

He alleged the group wanted control of a $200 million joint venture Paul Yarrow had secured with Japanese company Sumitomo.

Yarrows (The Bakers) was placed in receivership last year owing $55 million to Westpac and almost $20 million to a charitable trust.

Paul Yarrow told the Herald he remained committed to getting Yarrows back.

"That is my only focus. I will not give up on that, no matter how long it takes."

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 23 Oct 2014 02:53:39 Processing Time: 699ms