Australian Senate committee examining impact on banking of financial crisis could accept late submissions on collapse of Gunns' timber managed investment schemes

LOS ANGELES , October 9, 2012 () – The collapse of Tasmanian timber group Gunns Ltd. could come under the scrutiny of an Australian Senate committee examining the impact on banking of the financial crisis, The Australian reported on Oct. 8.

Nationals Party senator John Williams will propose this week that the Senate economics references committee considers issues related to the timber managed investment schemes (MIS) run by Launceston, Tasmania, based Gunns.

Gunns Plantations has responsibility for 21 MIS, including nine previously managed by Great Southern Plantations, which collapsed in 2009. As many as 49,000 grower-investors have about AU$1.6 billion at risk, The Australian noted.

With the committee due to report at the end of this month, Williams plans to argue that the committee should receive a late submission on the Gunns affair.

The submission would come from Geoff Shannon's Unhappy Banking group, which is also urging Gunns investors to make contact so it can help them with a view to possibly starting a class action.

Shannon expects Gunns investors to lose any hope of recovering the $1.6 billion if they are not recognized as creditors in the early stage of the company’s administration, The Australian reported.

PPB Advisory, acting as administrator for Gunns, has said it cannot yet be determined whether MIS investors will be treated as creditors, and that it is premature to say investors will recover nothing. PPB Advisory chairman Ian Carson said the administrator was looking at proposals “as they emerge” from people interested in a possible rescue.

The primary source of this article is The Australian, Sydney, Oct. 8, 2012.

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