23 August 2002

Some Viking members face receiver bill

THE receiver of Viking Cereals has carried out its threat to pursue members of the collapsed Lincs grain co-op who refused to join the Centaur Grain-backed rescue package agreed in June.

A Yorks farmer, who declined to be named, told farmers weekly that KPMG had sent a letter demanding £35/t for grain supplied to Viking at the end of last year. Payment is due by Aug 29, and if not forthcoming KPMG said: "We will have no option but to commence enforcement action against you."

According to the letter, the money would be a contribution towards "Ordinary Charges", described by KPMG as the running costs of the business which members are liable to pay as part of their members agreement with Viking. The producer said this seemed excessive and the tone of the letter "threatening".

The farmer had sold grain into the co-ops "short pool" and it is not clear how producers who put grain into the "long pool" will be affected. Allan Graham, the joint receiver at Viking Cereals, said it was not possible to comment on individual cases.

"We have issued letters to 34 members who decided to reject the Centaur Grain deal. Broadly speaking we have requested that any advance payment be repaid, as well as monies paid in April and a contribution to the losses, which again is dependent on individual circumstances."

KPMG would not say how much money it was hoping to secure from the 34 farmers. But it appears that some farmers face the possibility of losing almost the entire value of last years crop. &#42