Trader wins grape export rights in Namibia

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Trader wins grape export rights in Namibia

Dutch fruit trader Olympic Fruit BV has won its high court case to continue as the sole agent for four major Namibian grape producers, newspaper The Namibian reported.

The legal victory this week against growers in the country's table grape growing heartland of Aussenkehr co-incides with the start of the harvest.

Acting Judge Andrew Corbett ordered Nagrapex Holdings, Nivex Holdings, Exotic International (Namibia), and International Grape Company to comply with the terms of their 2009 agreement with Olympic Fruit.

The right to market and sell the four producers 4,500 metric tons (MT) harvest is estimated to be worth 16 million euros (US$22 million).

Olympic Fruit claimed Aussenkehr grape farming pioneer Dusan Vasiljevic, acting on behalf of the four companies, was trying to get out of the exclusive marketing and sales agreement.

The four companies had accused the Dutch trader of under reporting the prices it achieved from an Irish supermarket chain and the African export market.

They also claimed the Dutch company had further breached the agreement by paying commissions to sub-agents and charging a 10% commission for itself.

Senior counsel Raymond Heathcote, for Olympic Fruit, argued the claims were based on hearsay and denied the trader had prevented producers from looking at accounting records for last year's harvest.

The producers senior counsel Peet Coetsee, said the reason his clients wanted to break with Olympic Fruits was because they no longer trusted the company.

Olympic Fruit in a court affidavit claimed it had advanced the four producers N$53 million (US$6.5 million) to help them cover their expenses over the year.

The court heard the Dutch trader had also been involved in negotiations to buy shares and assets of the four producers although no takeover deal was achieved.

Photo: Viverolosvinedoes _ com

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