THE jobs of 60 workers at Cooroy Mountain Spring Water were saved yesterday when Sunshine Coast businessman Peter Lavin signed contracts to purchase the troubled business.
Mr Lavin made his fortune after shifting from New Zealand to Australia in the mid-1970s as a roofer, going on to establish himself as both a builder and then manufacturer of roofing products.
He described negotiations as difficult after he came into the picture late with giant Coca-Cola Amatil eyeing assets that included the 107-year-old Wimmers Soft Drink business.
Mr Lavin said he had been motivated by the desire to keep jobs in the region, the fact that Wimmers Soft Drinks were good drinks produced in a proud tradition and that the water plant was a rarity that was able to produce water straight from the mountain to the bottle as pristine water.
"It excites me," he said yesterday from his hilltop home overlooking Lake Macdonald.
Mr Lavin said he had been involved in a range of industries in his working life but the theory remained the same.
"You have to have confidence in the product," he said.
"Coming from the bottom rung myself, I know the value of working people.
"They are critical to the business. I have very competent people here."
Mr Lavin said an enormous amount of hard work had been done in recent weeks doing the necessary due diligence to ensure he was happy with the numbers.
Contracts to purchase the business were signed yesterday morning and he will take possession in 14 days.
The businessman has owned property on the Sunshine Coast for the past 30 years and has children in their 20s he has previously said were keen to "get their teeth" into a business.
Trouble in the Cooroy Mountain Group headed by businessman Greg Dinsey began to emerge in June last year when Cooroy Mountain Services went into liquidation with debts of $1 million including $850,000 owed to the Australian Tax Office.
The Cooroy Mountain Group itself went into administration on September 1.
Until earlier this year, Mr Dinsey remained confident of being able to attract investors to allow him to buy back the company.
Earlier this month, Federal Member for Wide Bay Warren Truss, Member for Noosa Glen Elmes and Member for Buderim Steve Dickson appealed to administrators KordMentha to keep the business local in the face of interest from Coca Cola Amatil.
However it is believed it was unsuccessful LNP Nicklin candidate John Connolly who played a critical role in getting Mr Lavin into the contest and keeping him there.