Embattled Penrice looks to brighter future

Penrice Soda is confident the worst is behind it as cashflow improves following $140 million of losses run up over the past three years.

Penrice Soda is confident the worst is behind it as cashflow improves following $140 million of losses run up over the past three years.

At its June 30 balance date, liabilities exceeded assets by $46.6 million, resulting in its auditors Ernst & Young qualifying its accounts for the second year due to "material uncertainty ... about the ... group's ability to continue as going concerns", it said in the annual report.

Chairman David Trebeck told shareholders at Tuesday's annual meeting that liquidity remained tight and that a debt restructure was being negotiated.

Penrice has $110 million of debt on its balance sheet, and $127.5 million of accumulated losses.

Negative cashflow continued during the first quarter due largely to final restructuring costs.

The strong Australian dollar, weak demand and product prices forced the group to close its soda ash plant and shift to imports.

Its future now hinges on developing the quicklime market and securing "viable contracts " for the output as well as renegotiating its debt and recapitalising the business.

The net loss fell to $50.1 million from $63.5 million.

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