The Refrigerated Warehouse & Transport Association of Australia (RWTA) has called on the Victorian Government to explain why it encouraged a business with a history of serial insolvency in Europe to enter the local market.
The Andrews Labor Government last week welcomed plans by Dutch-‐based cold storage and logistics company NewCold to establish its Asia Pacific Headquarters in Melbourne’s west.
However, an investigation by international Forensic and Risk Services company PKF has revealed NewCold’s European Directors have a history of insolvency associated with failed companies in the same industry.
RWTA Chairman David O’Brien called on the Victorian Government to disclose any subsidies or financial assistance offered to NewCold’s establishment in Victoria, and to explain what due diligence has taken place.
“Our own investigation found both of NewCold’s foreign Directors have been directors of companies that have gone into liquidation in the UK. How have they proved financial viability when there is a history of serial insolvency in Europe?” Mr O’Brien asked. “This should have raised the alarm for any Australian business or Government considering entering a commercial relationship with this firm,” he said.
Mr O’Brien said he was extremely concerned that if NewCold decided to buy market share by price gouging, this would lead to job losses by destroying local players.
“The Premier needs to explain what data he relied upon to support his promise of the creation of 127 jobs in a business which is highly automated.”
The Australian cold storage industry is estimated to be worth about $6-‐billion, and is forecast to continue growing at around 2.5% per annum.