Riverina’s Grainlink reboots as AgConnex

Emma Alsop October 9, 2023

Australian Grainlink’s assets include the Western Riverina Intermodal Freight Terminal at Wumbulgal near Griffith, where stakeholders including then NSW Minister for Regional Transport Sam Farraway, pictured at centre wearing hat, gathered in February 2023 for a NSW Government funding announcement. Photo: Sam Farraway

AFTER entering voluntary administration in June, four Grainlink entities have been purchased by related business Australian Grainlink Pty Ltd.

The entities, Grainlink (NSW) Pty Ltd; Grainlink Storage Pty Ltd; Grainlink Resources Pty Ltd; Walsh Link Pty Ltd, and Western Riverina Intermodal Freight Terminal Pty Ltd were involved in the bulk grain storage and grain trading industry in the Riverina region of New South Wales.

As part of the restructuring, Australian Grainlink will move forward under the new name AgConnex Pty Ltd.

AgConnex and the associated companies are owned and controlled by the Salvestro family and Geoff Barker.

Mr Barker said in a statement that full operations across the businesses have recommenced.

“A suitable arrangement was reached with creditors affected by the Voluntary Administration of several Grain Link companies,” Mr Barker said.

“Terms have been executed with the administrator via a deed of arrangement.

“This allows us to recommence full trading conditions.

“Our priority is to finalise all crop holdings affected by the VA process, as well as action new-crop receivals.”

Mr Barker said operations will be transferred to AgConnex in coming weeks.

“We will share further details about AgConnex and the operational improvements we’ve made over the coming weeks.”

The four Grainlink entities, believed to be jointly owned by Paul Pearsall and Dean Salvestro, were placed into voluntary administration on June 1 due to ongoing disputes at a shareholder and director level.

Despite sharing similar operations, Australian Grainlink was wholly owned by Mr Salvestro and was not involved in the action.

The entity, working with administrators Quentin Olde and Liam Healey of Ankura and corporate law firm Hamilton Locke, provided ongoing funding to the four Grainlink businesses during negotiations with creditors and grain customers.

In a statement provided by Hamilton Locke, the company said negotiations were complicated when customers launched legal action against the Grainlink entities due to a shortfall in third party grain held by the group.

“Due to the complexities surrounding the shortfall and the competing claims, the administrators sought and obtained an extension to the convening period,” the statement said.

“This delay, albeit necessary, did put pressure on the business and for some grain holders, raised concerns around satisfying third-party purchase contracts.

“In light of this delay, litigation was commenced during the administration by certain grain holders seeking orders on how the grain held by Grainlink was to be distributed given the competing claims between grain holders.”

These issues were ultimately resolved by the deed of company arrangement terms.

Australian Grainlink will now have full ownership of the company’s container intermodal hub, known as the Western Riverina Intermodal Freight Terminal, located at Wumbulgal.

This is in addition to grain storage sites at Coleambally, Benerembah, Carrathool and Ardlethan.

Source: Australian Grainlink, Hamilton Locke


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