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Rural and agribusiness

"It takes someone from a rural background to fully appreciate a rural business."

Agribusiness insolvency is much more than a numbers game. To provide the best possible return for creditors and shareholders, it is important for a business recovery team to intrinsically understand the agricultural sector - the land, livestock, the equipment - and the people involved.

Our rural & agribusiness experience

With a dedicated team that specialises in the agricultural sector, McDonald Vague is uniquely qualified to ensure it delivers the best possible results for clients. Our team comprises a group of highly experienced individuals, whose background in farming and related industries is complemented by expertise in governance, restructuring  and insolvency.

We are very results focused, with a proven track record of financial success. We provide extensive expertise while practising responsible and realistic fee management.

Our team can swiftly assess the situation, deploying resources without delay, taking control of management and, most importantly, delivering fast, tailored results to the maximum benefit of all parties.

We have an excellent network of contacts in the rural sector which includes key Fonterra representatives, farmers, farm advisors, farm contractors, real estate agents, livestock agents, valuers and auctioneers.

Our strategies have resulted in successful outcomes for all stake holders.. As a mid-sized firm, we are able to offer leading advice in a flexible and cost effective manner.

We are able to undertake assignments anywhere in New Zealand and can align with a local firm for assistance. Working with a local firm is more efficient, reduces travel costs and makes our appointment more cost effective. Our clients also benefit from the associated firm's local knowledge, and their specialist experience providing accounting services to farmers. More about NZCA can be found at

Agribusiness services

Restructuring and other advisory services

An increasing amount of our work at McDonald Vague is involved in providing independent reviews focusing on restructuring and governance with the aim of helping companies lay the foundations to grow into larger, more profitable businesses and to avoid the mistakes we see time and again.

Sometimes a business's corporate governance doesn't keep pace with the size of its turnover and exposure to a bank or financial institution. It is important to have a sound corporate governance policy, clear strategic direction and be as transparent with your financier as possible.

With McDonald Vague, you can expect innovative thinking and a creative alternative to achieve the best outcome.

We can provide the following services:

Turnaround/restructuring advice and implementation

- Advice on governance

- Implement risk policies

- Carrying out pre-lending reviews and preparing due diligence reports

- Financial analysis focusing on debt reduction or refinance

- Monitoring creditor payment issues

- Arranging a focused, orderly sell-down to maintain value

-Identifying methods to reduce production costs

- Identifying surplus or unproductive assets to be sold to reduce debt

- Identifying strategies to reduce bank debt such as a simple subdivision

- Profitability and cashflow monitoring

- Development of strategies for work-outs or asset realisation

- Investigating accountant assignments

McDonald Vague routinely works with rural businesses and their creditors to restructure the business to avoid insolvency. This is commonly called a work out. This work usually falls "below the radar", and due to its confidential nature, our role is only known about by the company's directors and/or lenders. We have assisted behind the scenes in numerous rural businesses where a potential failure has been avoided.

Work outs usually involve:

- Meeting with the farmer to gain an understanding of the current operation, collecting all relevant information which we digest to produce a series of possible scenarios

- Relieving the farmer of the burden of reporting through to stakeholders and discussing  the possible scenarios

- Presenting the stakeholders with the most viable option and what it entails, allowing the farmer to focus on what they are good at - farming

- Once we have agreement we identify a clear pathway forward in order to achieve the initial goals.  We understand the variables associated with the industry and build a dynamic plan to suit

- Working as a transparent unbiased experienced third party to turn around a struggling asset

The vital ingredient for any successful work out is that the parties involved contact us quickly, with an open mind and a desire to solve the problem. We are frequently able to assist rural businesses in maximising value and minimising potential losses to creditors through this process.

In situations where we are not able achieve a successful workout - liquidation or receivership may follow.

Recent rural receiverships

Pilgrim Wine Estate Limited (In Receivership)
Pilgrim vineyard is a 40 hectare vineyard in Waipra, North Canterbury. The receivers traded on the vineyard for 2 seasons to eradicate the powdery mildew which was spread right through vineyard. This substantially increased production so the vineyard could be sold as a profitable going concern.

Smith Partnership (In Receivership)
McDonald Vague was appointed over a 26 hectare kiwifruit orchard in the Bay of Plenty to resolve a partner dispute and to settle a pre-receivership contract to sell the orchard. The property was settled and surplus funds were repaid to creditors and the partners.

G M Woolston Family Trust (in Receivership)
The receivers were appointed over a sheep and beef farm in the King Country as a result of the farmer’s poor health. McDonald Vague was recommended by the Rural Support Trust to manage the receivership. A collaborative approach between the receivers and the Rural Support Trust resulted in all secure creditors being paid in full and surplus funds returned to the trust.

Jarra Farms Limited (In Receivership)
Implementing a quick and decisive plan on a 570 hectare hill country block 30 minutes from Taumarunui with 4,000 stock unit capacity helped to realise a good result.

The situation included:

- The dairy herd on the brink of calving

- Farmer with severe depression

The solution involved:

- The Rural Support Trust recommended to the bank to appoint receivers and they endorsed McDonald Vague

- Receivers made arrangements for the farmer to move into town to stay with his mother

- The farmer’s well-being was everyone's number one priority

The management of retro milk payments, insurance credits, investment shares and plant and machinery also assisted in the bank's full recovery.

Our rural & agribusiness team

Boris van Delden
Boris van Delden is a highly experienced insolvency practitioner, culminating with his appointment as Partner at McDonald Vague in 2005. Read More

David Taylforth

Senior Insolvency Manager
David Taylforth is a Chartered Accountant and holds a Public Practicing certificate and is a member of RITANZ. David began his career with Ernst & Young, and went on to gain extensive experience in a wide range of businesses there, and also as a Chartered Accountant in his own business.
Read More

Colin Sanderson

Senior Associate
Colin Sanderson is the firm’s key contact in our Hamilton office. Read More

Contact us to discuss your situation

If you believe McDonald Vague may be able to assist you, please visit our staff profile page for direct contact details of our Directors and staff.  All such discussions are treated confidentially and do not commit you to appointing us in any formal capacity.

Our offices are located in Auckland and Hamilton.  We also have team members who are fluent in Mandarin and Dutch.