ABOUT 275 jobs are on the line after owners of Australia's 100-year-old tomato sauce brand Rosella was placed in receivership on Monday, owing millions to the National Australia Bank.
Fairfax understands Gourmet Food Holdings, which employs 140 people at its factory in Dandenong and 110 in NSW, could owe NAB as much as $50 million.
The collapse puts more pressure on Victoria's manufacturing industry, which has seen a number of high-profile companies cut jobs as a result of the strong Australian dollar.
Ferrier Hodgson partners Steve Sherman, Jim Sarantinos and John Lindholm were appointed receivers after creditors failed to find a buyer for the business. The company went into voluntary administration on Friday.
A Ferrier Hodgson spokesman said it was ''too early'' to to comment on any job losses. ''We're going to do what we can to preserve jobs.''
NSW secretary for the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, Tim Ayres, said it was hard to remain optimistic despite assurances that the whole business would be put on the market. ''We're very worried that, with no notice, an administrator has been appointed,'' he said. ''In the lead-up to Christmas, every worker is going to be concerned.''
In a statement, the receivers said an expressions-of-interest campaign would be launched to find a buyer for the group.
The company is ultimately owned by private equity firm Crescent Capital, which also owned failed music company Allans Billy Hyde.