The Lockyer Valley Cannery is moving ahead.
The Lockyer Valley Cannery is moving ahead.

Major investor outlines proposal to build cannery

A POTENTIAL investor in a fruit and vegetable processing facility on Toowoomba's doorstep has outlined a multimillion-dollar investment plan that would see all three stages of the project proceed.

The Lockyer Valley Cannery, a roughly $80 million project based in Withcott, has been in the works for nine years.

Writing to shareholders and registered applicants in the formation of a cooperative, Lockyer Valley Cannery CEO and managing director Colin Dorber said the "proposed major investor" had made a presentation to the two boards involved in the establishment of the facility - those of the cannery and the cooperative - at a meeting in Brisbane yesterday.

Mr Dorber said the investor outlined "an investment initiative that would see the whole of the proposed facility project proceed (i.e. the incorporation of stages 1 to 3)".

He said as a result of the presentation and after viewing certain documents tabled on an "in confidence" basis, the boards made the decision to "stand-down" and effectively place on hold "all current negotiations concerning investment proposals, and the establishment of the cooperative".

"The only exclusion to this arrangement is a well-developed initiative for a $5 to $10 million start up investment, where an in-principle (subject to due diligence) commitment has been made, and a funding release is awaited," Mr Dorber wrote.

"During this 'stand-down' period, the companies will not engage in the allocation/issue of shares, the sale of shares, or permit the transfer of any shares between existing parties including any existing shareholders; or solicit any further investment proposals."

The Lockyer Valley Cannery project began its life after Golden Circle, without warning, closed its Northgate canning facility in 2011 and moved their operations to New Zealand and Indonesia.

The move left the farmers in the Lockyer Valley and other horticultural production areas in South East Queensland without a processor for their produce.

Interested stakeholders decided to build their own facility in the valley to fill the void left by the relocation of Golden Circle.