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Forestry carbon credits fund collapses

A COMPANY that specialises in forestry carbon credit projects in Asia, the Pacific islands and Australia has collapsed.

A COMPANY that specialises in forestry carbon credit projects in Asia, the Pacific islands and Australia has collapsed.

First Growth Funds, which describes itself as an Australian investment company and has been listed on the Australian Stock Exchange since December 1986, was placed in administration by its secured lender Noble Investments Superannuation Fund last night.

Last week the company said it was negotiating with its lender to restructure a $1.2 million debt. It made a $1.35 million loss after tax last year after generating $240,207 in revenue.

The company secretary, Mourice Garbutt, said in last week's announcement to the ASX the company was seeking to defer principal repayments to "better align operational receipts and to issue further equity to support increased investment in its carbon business portfolio".

Mr Garbutt said the board was confident that with further investment it could establish "valuable" carbon credits aimed at voluntary buyers.

The company's board includes Peter Mullins, a former chief executive of Greenpeace Australia Pacific. First Growth Funds' website also says Mr Mullins is a former Australian diplomat with a "strong personal commitment to saving the tropical forests of Asia and the Pacific while, at the same time, securing effective development opportunities for local communities living in these forests".

It says the company focuses on "emerging technologies in high growth companies and markets".

The company had "active investments" in forestry carbon credit projects in Asia and the region, and also had an investment in a digital video group.

Through its wholly-owned subsidiary, First Growth Ventures, the company had a deal to provide financing and development assistance to project developers operating in Indonesia, Asia and the south Pacific region.

The immediate focus of the project was to develop forestry carbon credits from preserving rainforests in south-east Asia, creating credits for each year of the project's life.

The company believed typical project lives were greater than 20 years, representing a sound annuity income stream. Its shares had been trading flat at 0.1?.

Michael West Opinion, Page 6

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