ATO blocks Cookie Co’s former owner

The Cookie Company bakehouse and store in Byron Bay.
The Cookie Company bakehouse and store in Byron Bay. Digby Hildreth

THE Byron Bay Cookie company is firmly in the hands of liquidators now with the Australian Tax Office prevailing in its battle to prevent the previous owners from gaining control.

The former owner, Gordon Slater had offered unsecured creditors, including current employees, less than 10 cents in the dollar in a deed of company arrangement.

This leaves the liquidators, Lawler Partners free to investigate the company, potentially allowing them to pursue the former owner and directors.

Meanwhile the administrators appointed by NAB, PricewaterhouseCoopers will continue to run the company as a going concern while they seek a buyer.

Cookie Company PR and marketing manager, Emilie Emond said there were 100 interested parties lining up to look at buying the company.

She said the mood among the 60 Byron locals still at work in the factory had lifted with the news of Mr Slater's failure to regain control.

"We have finally turned things around here and are back to baking and supplying our customers and the mood in the factory has completely changed," Ms Emond said.

"The workers are still worried about what will happen because although their entitlements are covered by the government, the fate of their super depends on the sale of the business."

A spokesman for Lawler Partners said they would continue investigating company and will keep creditors updated.

PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Derrick Vickers said they were running double shifts to meet orders and had stabilised the business, hiring back one employee made redundant when the company originally collapsed.

Topics:  ato business

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