An explosive report has questioned whether the Tasmanian timber company Gunns traded while insolvent before its collapse last year.

Administrator PPB Advisory was appointed last September when Gunns could not pay its debts.

It has now released a report to creditors saying the company may have had problems six months before the collapse, but further investigation is needed.

PPB reports that it has found three instances where funds from plantation growers or other companies may have been used to keep Gunns running.

It emphasises the conclusions are from preliminary investigations which have been limited by time and the amount of information in Gunns' books.

It says further investigation is needed to conclude whether they constitute a breach of directors' duties.

Former directors are being contacted for a response.

Total debts are tallied at more than $3 billion, not including money owed to plantation growers.

The debt includes about $445 million owed to the banks, $190 million owed to other secured creditors and $10 million in employee entitlements.

The administrators say it is unlikely unsecured creditors, including logging companies and contractors, will get any of the nearly $2.4 billion they are owed.

Banks are also unlikely to see all of the money owed to them by the failed company.

Creditors to meet

PPB recommends that Gunns' creditors vote to liquidate the company, a move which will cost about $2 million in fees.

The creditors are due to meet next week.

The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association does not hold out much hope for plantation farmers who are unsecured creditors.

The TFGA's Jan Davis has told ABC Local Radio farmers had concerns about plantation payments for months before Gunns collapsed.

"That was an alarm bell that was rung and alerts were given and quite clearly we believe that there needs to be more investigation so that if there were breaches of the law, which trading while insolvent clearly is, those who were responsible are brought to book," she said.

"What is difficult for us is unravelling the situation between the farmers who own the land, the investors who have some interest in the trees and the receivers and the administrators with the least possible plan and the best possible outcome."

 

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