Chips are down for Hanwood company

A HANWOOD potato chip company has appointed administrators in another blow to the Griffith economy now said to be at its lowest ebb in 30 years.

Potato chip business Potato Magic Australia, which operates from a leased premises on Kidman Way in Hanwood, has appointed the same administrators responsible for overseeing the foreclosure of Bruno Mancini's multi-million portfolio of commercial properties.

The future of the company's four permanent and 12 casual staff relies on a marketing campaign by PPB Advisory to sell the business as quickly as possible.

Mayor John Dal Broi lashed out at the "corrupt" practices of the two big supermarket chains for stifling small business.

"Here's a company that was trying to enter a market controlled by large corporates, and man is it hard to get your product into Coles and Woolworths because they demand you pay them to put your products on the shelves," Councillor Dal Broi said.

"I can even recall Ray Hadley giving them a great pat on the back and saying how good it was, but they were up against corrupt practices by the big supermarkets, which is just disgusting."

Potato Magic Australia was established in 2008 by Hillston potato king Paul Rennie, who is reportedly associated with potato, garlic and cereal production company Lachlan Produce and Australia's biggest potato farm capable of growing 32,000 tonnes per year.

In April, the Federal Court heard federal police raided Mr Rennie in connection with a long running dispute with the Australia Tax Office (ATO) which alleges he sent $21 million offshore in transactions going back as far as the late 1990s.

Mr Rennie had settled with the ATO in 2012, when he agreed to bring the money back, but the probe was reopened when the ATO believed he was $8 million short.

Nevertheless, Mr Rennie remains a shareholder in Potato Magic Australia and has since licensed the operations so the company can continue to operate and service its clients while it waits for a buyer.

Potato Magic Australia produces Skinns chips, which it boasts are produced from local potatoes, along with other Australian grown ingredients.

Potato Magic Australia is the latest in a long line of local businesses to go under recently, including Griffith icons Summertime Fruit Juices and steel manufacture and fabrication business Colla Brothers.

The Area News tried to contact Mr Rennie for comment, but at the time of going to print he had not responded.

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