Wind-up of ostrich farm firm delayed

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The Independent Online
A bid to wind up the Ostrich Farming Corporation, which has attracted thousands of UK investors, was adjourned yesterday.

The Department of Trade and Industry issued the petition against OFC, which reportedly has 2,000 birds on farms in Belgium, in March. The company is also being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office.

The Mansfield-based firm is said to have taken millions of pounds by claiming it can provide annual returns of 51.6 per cent on investments. The DTI's petition says: "The scheme is bound to collapse as soon as saturation point is reached."

Many investors, understood to have paid between pounds 6,000 and pounds 14,000 for ostrich hens, were at the High Court to hear Mr Registrar James adjourn the case to a judge in the Chancery Division. The action should be heard before August.

Christopher Harrison, for the DTI, said such a move had been agreed with OFC. "The matter has generated enormous public concern and it's important for it to be dealt with as soon as possible."

Raquel Agnello, for OFC, said the company needed time to consider a report to be filed by the Official Receiver.

Earlier, the animal welfare group, Compassion in World Farming, held a protest outside the courts, calling for a ban on the emerging industry.