One of New Zealand's biggest sawmilling companies has gone into receivership, threatening 400 jobs.
Southern Cross Forest Products is headquartered in Dunedin and has staff at six wood processing sites in South Otago and in Thames.
Receivers Brendon Gibson and Michael Stiassny from KordaMentha on Monday told staff they were taking over the business, and aiming to sell it as a going concern, though they warned that would take months to achieve. Mr Gibson said no redundancies were planned.
Clutha district mayor Bryan Cadogan said there are three sawmills in Milton and Balclutha, plus all the transport drivers and logging crews, so up to 5 percent of the district's 9000 workers could be affected.
Mr Cadogan said the situation is unsettling for the company and all the workers.
Many sawmills have been struggling with relatively high log prices and a high New Zealand dollar. Financial statements show Southern Cross Forest Products had made losses in 2011 and 2012 of several million dollars.