THE Korumburra-based financial group, South Eastern Secured Investments Limited (SESI), which was forced into receivership in 2009, owing 3000 investors more than $178 million is in the process of making its final payout.

The latest distribution to investors, most of them South Gippsland residents, brings to 99 cents in the dollar as the amount paid out by Receivers and Managers KordaMentha, when many originally thought they might lose the lot.

However, while local investors have welcomed the final payout, they told the ‘Sentinel-Times’ that the long, drawn-out affair had severely impacted family finances and both farm and business operations over the 11-year process.

Korda-Mentha made the announcement of a 21st and final distribution to SESI depositors on Tuesday, this week, April 7.

Craig Shepard and Mark Korda of KordaMentha were appointed Receivers and Managers of SESI on February 11, 2009.

About 3000 depositors, mostly locals, were owed $178 million. All deposits were frozen immediately upon their appointment, Mr Shepard said this week.

“We are pleased to announce a twenty-first and final distribution to debenture holders.

“Since our appointment in February 2009, over $176 million has been distributed to debenture holders, most of whom reside in the Gippsland region” Mr Shepard said.

“Mark Korda and I are really encouraged by the positive feedback we continue to receive from investors, some of whom had initially feared they had lost their entire investment.

“Including this final distribution of 13 cents in the dollar, debenture holders will have now received approximately 99 cents in the dollar on their investments which compares favourably with earlier estimates of 80 to 90 cents in the dollar,” said Mr Shepard.

“As we stated from the outset, the process of realising the Company’s assets and distributing these funds would take some time to complete and this final distribution represents the final milestone in this difficult process,” Mr Shepard said.

He told the Sentinel-Times it was his earnest hope that the firm achieved a 100 per cent return of funds but had just fallen short.

“Mark Korda and I would once again like to thank the debenture holders for their patience during these difficult times who, like all of us, are currently faced with the unprecedented uncertainty and challenges posed by COVID-19.

“We hope this final distribution goes some way to assisting them during these challenges.”

Mr Shepard concluded his comments by saying: “As all assets have now been realised and distributed, this will be the final distribution to depositors and we will now take steps to finalise the receivership. We understand the directors of SESI are currently considering the future of the Company which may involve the appointment of a liquidator to manage the remaining claims and wind up the Company.

“We expect further announcements in this regard to follow in the coming weeks.”