August news digest

04 September 2017

The following are summaries of media stories related to business turnaround and insolvency in Australia during August 2017.



Hundreds of job losses for Qld company

30 August 2017 reports that “hundreds of Queensland workers have been made redundant or told to stand down at a Darling Downs construction company. The Dalby-based Ostwald Bros was placed into administration on Monday, with 260 redundancies announced on Wednesday and 140 asked to stand down pending the outcome of discussions with contractors.”

Rimfire Constructions boss Danny Cain and Subbies United’s John Goddard; plus Julian Dolby; Mark Gray; Bevan Slattery

30 August 2017

The Courier Mail reports that “there are growing concerns the flood of Chinese money that pumped up the local property market may be slowing to a trickle as Beijing tightens rules on overseas investment. Queensland subbies owed an estimated $4 million by troubled Rimfire Constructions, are on the firing line of that slowdown, learning in the past couple of days that the company, which last year attracted big Chinese partners, is on the verge of filing for court-approved restructuring.”

The collapse of this Chinese-backed developer in Sydney shows how messy foreign property investment can get

30 August 2017

The Business Insider reports that “the developer of a 100-unit complex in Sydney’s south-west which has been placed in receivership has left at least 14 investors wondering if they’ll have anything to show for their money after buying the apartments off the plan. The Australian Financial Review’s story on the collapse the Hua Cheng International Holdings Group, which was developing Royal Plaza apartment block in Hurstville, was placed in receivership in July, reveals the complex financial web funding Sydney’s development boom as Australian lenders pull back and the lack of protections for buyers.”

White-collar pros offer ‘asset protection’ services to doomed Gold Coast construction companies

30 August 2017

Gold Coast Bulletin reports that “opportunistic accountants and lawyers are cashing in on building company collapses by offering “pre-insolvency” advice that helps dodgy directors avoid paying their debts. Subcontractor groups say a lack of adequate enforcement by State and Federal authorities have allowed “pre-packaged” liquidations to flourish, creating a deliberate, lucrative and destructive industry based on illegal phoenix activities.”

Nexus says Ostwald Bros' woes won't affect bypass

28 August 2017

The Toowoomba Chronicle reports that “the company charged with building the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing said Ostwald Bros' financial woes would not cause delays to the project. Nexus Infrastructure had employed the Dalby-based civil construction firm, which was placed in administration this morning, to carry out works on the massive $1.6 billion bypass.”

Gold Coast Commonwealth Games: Grocon to pay subcontractors left $1 million out of pocket

25 August 2017

ABC News reports that “the lead developer for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games village has agreed to pay subcontractors who lost more than $1 million when one of its contract builders went broke. The village will house more than 6,500 athletes and officials at next year's games, being held in April. Ware Building was contracted by construction giant Grocon to build 82 townhouses on the Parklands development site, but it went into liquidation last week.“

What Subcontractors and Suppliers Need to Know About Head Contractor Insolvencies

24 August 2017

Sourceable reports that “when Ewan McArthur won a job worth more than $100,000 on a state government project for demolition and asbestos removal work as part of an upgrade to a public housing estate in North Melbourne, he understandably presumed that he would in fact be paid for the job as per his contract. As noted in The Age, however, that was not to be. Reed Constructions, the company contracted by the Victorian Government to undertake the upgrade, famously collapsed in 2012 owing $89.2 million to unsecured creditors, including $85.6 million to subcontractors – many of whom had been engaged (mostly in New South Wales) to work on major public-sector road, housing and education projects.”

Hundreds of Australian building companies are at 'high risk' of failure, as Chinese investors retreat

23 August 2017

Business Insider reports that “a Brisbane-based construction company linked to a massive Chinese building business is on the brink of collapse in another sign that Queensland’s building industry is struggling. Rimfire Constructions had its building licence cancelled by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) in July and is currently seeking a court-approved scheme of arrangement to pay its creditors after months of cashflow problems.”

Gold Coast company FRD Homes Pty Ltd caught up in collapse of Queensland One Homes

23 August 2017

Gold Coast Bulletin reports that “two Commonwealth Games gold medallists and their development company have become embroiled in the collapse of Gold Coast building company Queensland One Homes with 25 of their clients’ new homes originally contracted to the now-unlicensed company. Queensland One Homes is in liquidation and related company Empire Constructions Pty Ltd is completing about 30 homes it had under way.”

Ware Building hits wall as Grocon steps in to finish Gold Coast Commonwealth Games village

18 August 2017

Gold Coast Bulletin reports that “the developer of the Gold Coast’s Commonwealth Games athlete’s village says a site contractor’s collapse won’t affect it. Grocon — overseeing delivery of the Parklands athlete’s village — yesterday revealed subcontractor Ware Building Pt Ltd had gone into voluntary administration. Ware was delivering 82 townhouses to house Games athletes at the site.”

'Living in a nightmare': failed community leaves families broke

12 August 2017

The Northern Star reports that “a collapsed shared-living community at Mt Burrell serves as a warning to potential investors of alternative housing schemes. With its court-ordered dismantling this week, the Bhula Bhula Intentional Community has left in its wake at least 20 financially ruined investors and a litany of complex legal clashes. The NSW Land and Environmental Court ordered the community to "cease habitation", remove its makeshift homes, caravans, spiritual yurts and unauthorised roadworks by August 7.”

Trustee pursues McCracken to answer questions over Rambutan project

5 August 2017

The Townsville Bulletin reports that “bankrupt developer and former New Zealand rugby league international Jarrod McCracken and his business associates will be called before a public examination to answer questions about their involvement in a $20 million Townsville project. Mr McCracken’s trustee in bankruptcy, Nicholas Crouch, of business advisory and insolvency services firm Crouch Amirbeaggi, is investigating the circumstances behind development of the Rambutan resort and commercial complex on Flinders St. Mr Crouch alleges Mr McCracken failed to disclose his employment and the earnings for his project management services on the development.”


Glencore’s Rolleston coalmine sale raises eyebrows

31 August 2017

The Australian reports that “Glencore’s move to place its Rolleston coalmine up for sale has left many puzzled. The question being asked is why would it divest the mine from which it ships its coal through the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal at a time when negotiations with the terminal’s banks are at a critical point. WICET is owned by miners that ship their coal through the terminal, with the largest user being Glencore. And WICET is in negotiations with its lenders to stave off a collapse.”

Atlas Iron swings to full-year profit

29 August 2017

SBS reports that “Atlas Iron has swung to a full-year profit as a rebound in iron ore prices helped the junior miner recover from a writedown-driven loss a year earlier. The company reported net profit of $48 million for the year to June 30, up from a $159 million net loss last year, while revenue for the year rose 11 per cent to $871 million. Net operating cash flow grew by $123 million as a result of higher sales pricing, an increased proportion of higher-margin iron ore lump product in the sales mix, and operational efficiencies, the company said.”

Clive Palmer’s lawyers blasted over last-minute evidence in $22m lawsuit

28 August 2017

The Courier Mail reports that “while Clive Palmer was jetting into Townsville today, a judge was slamming his lawyers in Brisbane for bringing up last-minute evidence in a $22 million lawsuit. Mr Palmer’s flagship company, Mineralogy, wants a declaration that it is not obliged to pay exploration company BGP Geoexplorer any money over a $22 million debt owed to it by another of his businesses, Palmer Petroleum, which is in liquidation. BGP Geoexplorer has filed a counterclaim and the case has been set down for trial over two days in the Supreme Court starting today.”

Delta goes into liquidation

23 August 2017

Mining Monthly reports that “Delta SBD creditors have resolved to wind up the companies within the group, with administrators GrantThornton appointed to act as liquidators.

The creditors made the decision on Friday, effectively starting the dismantling of the New South Wales underground coal contracting business. GrantThornton said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange in June that Delta had a highly experienced and professional workforce who understood site expectations and requirements with Tier-1 and 2 mining clients.”

Sunjeev Gupta's Scottish steel mill offers future outlook for Whyalla's Arrium steelworks

23 August 2017

ABC reports asks “what insight into the future of Arrium in Whyalla can be drawn from looking at Liberty Steel's operations in Scotland? The British company, run by billionaire entrepreneur Sanjeev Gupta, is revitalising the South Australian steelworks after they went into voluntary administration. ABC Radio Adelaide's Sonya Feldhoff was recently given the opportunity to tour one of Mr Gupta's acquisitions in Scotland.”

Court cancels Fotios outfit wind-up

18 August 2017

The West Australian reports that “Michael Fotios’ Eastern Goldfields was returned into the hands of its directors yesterday after a court order to wind up the company was set aside.Court-appointed liquidators HLB Mann Judd confirmed the Davyhurst gold project owner had taken back control of the assets. Eastern Goldfields was thrown into court-ordered liquidation on Tuesday. The miner was not represented in court at the time and launched no defence against the order. InvestMet, Eastern Goldfields executive chairman Mr Fotios’ private company, was working to rectify the issue, announcing to the stock exchange late yesterday afternoon it had successfully had the order set aside.”

Hopes fade for quick Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal restructure

10 August 2017

The Australian reports that “hopes that a restructure of the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal will be finalised by next month appear to be fading, as the owners continue to lobby its lenders to take a haircut.

Apparently, WICET’s directors had wanted a deal for its $4 billion-plus debt pile to be recut, ahead of key refinancing date in 12 months. Refinancing a loan less than a year from repayment date is more challenging.

But sources say that now appears increasingly unlikely.”

Deloitte called in to help struggling MMA Offshore

9 August 2017

The Australian reports that “MMA Offshore has hired financial services firm Deloitte to help it through its challenges with lenders, which have triggered a raft of asset sales at a time of low oil prices. The company has been on the radar of hedge funds since it failed to meet its debt obligations, but now appears to have put the worst behind it. Earlier this year MMA announced it had reached a deal to pay only the interest on its loans for the short term until it could improve its position through fleet sales.”

Appin mine deal means 130 jobs under Mastermyne contract

4 August 2017

The Wollondilly Advertiser reports that “about 130 mine workers laid off from South32’s Appin mine are likely to get work again with contractor Mastermyne, which has signed a new contract to supply underground services there. South32 had terminated its labour supply contract with Delta SBD, leaving about 200 people without work according an estimate from the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU).”

Turnbull Government-appointed liquidators file an injunction to freeze Clive Palmer’s assets

3 August 2017

The Courier Mail reports that “Federal Government-appointed liquidators have sensationally applied to freeze hundreds of millions of dollars in assets owned by Clive Palmer – including luxury big boys’ toys and 15 properties – in a shock move to help recoup taxpayer money. In a surprise move never before flagged, special purpose liquidators yesterday filed a Mareva injunction in the Supreme Court of Queensland to stop Mr Palmer splurging away at least $200 million in personal wealth and selling off his businesses. The application also aims to stop him from driving his businesses in the ground.”

Gina Rinehart’s one-time sidekick Paul Mulder talks up Mayur Resources

1 August 2017

The Courier Mail reports that “a former top lieutenant for Australia’s richest woman is in the midst of a global roadshow ahead of floating his Brisbane-based mining outfit. Paul Mulder has kept busy doing a sales job on Mayur Resources, which hopes to raise up to $15.5 million ahead of an expected ASX listing on September 1. Mulder has already made the pitch in Asia and Europe and is now back in Australia, hitting Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Next week he’ll be talking up Mayur at the legendary Diggers and Dealers mining conference in Kalgoorlie.”

Caledon Coal Group placed into liquidation

1 August 2017

The Courier Mail reports that “after months of uncertainty, an embattled Central Queensland miner has been placed into liquidation. Administrators confirmed on Monday that creditors voted that all five companies in the Caledon Coal Group (Caledon Coal, Guangdong Rising (Australia), Blackwater Coal and Bowen Basin Pastoral Company) be placed into liquidation, the Gladstone Observer reports. Caledon Coal owns Cook Colliery mine, south of Blackwater, and is part-owner of Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (WICET) in Gladstone.”

Forging new law in insolvency - cases and developments coming out of the collapse of the Forge Group

1 August 2017

Kott Gunning Lawyers website reports that “one of the harbingers of the end of the mining boom in Western Australia was the collapse of the Forge Group in early 2014. Forge Group Ltd (Forge) and the companies associated with it were substantial players in the mining services sector.  Towards the end of 2013 Forge went into an extended trading halt arising from concerns about its ability to meet debt covenants. In early 2014 the company announced that it had reached a deal with its bank, ANZ, which would “solve the liquidity issues and strengthen Forge Group’s balance sheet”.”


Collapsed retailer Bubs Baby Shops owes creditors $3.2 million and customers are paying a high price for layby items

29 August 2017

The Courier Mail reports that “trade creditors are owed approximately $3.2 million from Bubs Baby Shops Group as investigations into the demise of the Queensland-based retail group continue. Administrators have already closed five of the retailer’s eight stores. The Maroochydore store on the Sunshine Coast will close its doors on Sunday while the Fortitude Valley and Aspley stores in Brisbane remain open and selling stock at reduced prices.”

Directors under spotlight as Sims supermarkets liquidated

29 August 2017

Star Weekly reports that “poor management, plummeting sales and spiralling debts racked up by a failed venture into North Blackburn were behind the failure of the Sims IGA Plus Liquor supermarkets in Footscray and Werribee, according to a leaked report. Investigations have also uncovered a number of potential breaches of duties by directors William Sims, Richard Sims and David Cotter. Creditors owed more than $10 million have voted to liquidate the companies behind the failed stores.”

Temple & Webster tips maiden profit in 2019 as losses shrink

29 August 2017

The Australian Financial Review reports that “online homewares retailer Temple & Webster remains confident of making a maiden profit in 2019 after operating losses halved in 2017 as the company cut marketing and head office costs. Temple & Webster lost $7.8 million in the 12 months ending June, compared with losses of $43.5 million in 2016, when the e-commerce company booked more than $30 million in costs associated with its 2015 initial public offer, refinancing costs and impairments.”

Is this why there are so many dispensing breaches?

25 August 2017

Pharmacy News reports that “pharmacies are being forced to breach dispensing staff guidelines because of declining margins. That’s the view of a restructure expert, who says pharmacy owners were aware of the guidelines but in most instances couldn’t afford to have a second pharmacist on duty. This follows concerns raised by the Victorian Pharmacy Authority (VPA), whose inspectors have found several breaches to the 220-script rule.”

Topshop and Topman chain rescued by UK billionaire Philip Green

25 August 2017

The Australian reports that “more than three months after it collapsed into voluntary administration the Australian arm of upmarket fashion chain Topshop and Topman has been rescued by controversial British billionaire and “king of the high street” Sir Philip Green, who has bought back key local assets of the failed retailer. Sir Philip and his Arcadia Group multinational fashion empire were always the logical rescuers of the Australian Topshop and Topman chains and had been involved in lengthy discussions with administrators since its collapse in May. Joint administrators of Austradia (trading as Topshop and Topman in Australia) today announced a successful restructure of the Australian business.”

SurfStitch in total wipeout, collapses into voluntary administration

24 August 2017

The Australian reports that “the long-troubled surf and sports products online retailer SurfStitch has collapsed into voluntary administration, ending the public life of one of the worst floats on the market in recent years, leaving its shareholders likely facing a complete loss on their investment. SurfStitch (SRF) said this afternoon, that following a year full of challenges (including two class actions, a protracted litigation with a former business partner and an ASIC investigation), there had been high levels of uncertainty to the business and material costs that were outside its control. This has impacted cash flow, the company said.”

Townsville health business grows 40 per cent despite slow economy

23 August 2017

Townsville Bulletin reports that “health food business Australian Nutrition Centre is bucking the trend in Townsville, growing sales 40 per cent and cutting overheads as much as 75 per cent as it plans further ­expansion. But it wasn’t always that way. The business has come through a harrowing period where its former franchise operator fell into administration in late 2015 and their former shopping centre landlords sought to lock them out of the centre’s premises for rent arrears.”

Ruslan Kogan warns of multiple online retail collapses as his electronics business eyes potential acquisitions

21 August 2017

Smart Company reports that “e-commerce entrepreneur Ruslan Kogan believes multiple Australian online retailers will collapse over the next year — and says his company is poised to acquire them if the opportunity arises. Speaking to AAP, the founder and chief executive of booming online retailer refused to name any specific retailers, but said the process of acquiring collapsed retailer Dick Smith Electronics last year put Kogan in good stead to pick up any other floundering e-commerce websites in future.”

Myer chief Richard Umbers happy with his new 'cohesive' team after Daniel Bracken departure

19 August 2017

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that “in business, as in life, it's good to have a Robin to your Batman, a Goose to your Maverick. In the case of Myer, chief executive Richard Umbers has now assembled the Flying V. The executive level shake-up was brought on after the sudden departure of the retailer's deputy chief executive and Mr Umbers' key lieutenant Daniel Bracken, the retail wunderkind from Burberry who spearheaded the introduction of stand-alone Topshop boutiques in-store, an experiment that failed when the local arm of the high-street fashion chain went into voluntary administration earlier this year.”

Buyers join queue to get slice of Mias Bakery

17 August 2017

The West Australian reports that “administrators of a 67-year-old family-owned bakery that went under in June are likely to get a handle on the future of the business next week. The administrators have been sounding out interest from potential buyers while awaiting a possible restructuring proposal from owner Conrad Mias. Nearly 30 expressions of interest had been received just before yesterday’s deadline.”

Deloitte dragged into Dick Smith directors’ legal battle

15 August 2017

ARN Net reports that “Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu has been drawn into the legal battle being waged between the receivers of failed retailer, Dick Smith, and its former directors. Dick Smith Holdings’ (DSH) receivers, Ferrier Hodgson, in conjunction with National Australia Bank (NAB) and HSBC – two of Dick Smith’s largest creditors – mounted a legal action in March against former directors and executives of the collapsed electronics retailer in a damages claim worth millions.”

Malvern IGA reopens under ownership of former owner Geoff Morris

11 August 2017

The Adelaide Messenger reports that “a supermarket that closed in June after its owners went into liquidation has reopened – and with a familiar face behind the counter. Geoff Morris last month bought the Malvern 7 Day Centre IGA, following the collapse of its previous operators, Chidley Holdings Pty Ltd. It marked a return to familiar territory for Mr Morris, who owned and operated the independent grocer – then known as Hazel’s – in the late 1990s.”

Hilton Seskin confirms purchase of Municipal building at 164 Hunter Street

9 August 2017

The Newcastle Herald reports that “a retail mogul who brought the Topshop label to Australia has been revealed as the mystery buyer of a historic building in Hunter Street mall. The Newcastle Herald has confirmed Hilton Seskin, a fashion industry veteran and founder of Rebel Sport, is the director of a company that purchased the Municipal building in May.”

Amazon's Melbourne move could create 'thousands' of jobs but bankrupt retailers

4 August 2017

ABC News reports that “Amazon's decision to move into Melbourne has been celebrated as a win for jobs, but billionaire entrepreneur Gerry Harvey warns the online shopping giant will use a "send everyone broke" policy to put other retailers out of business. Amazon has announced plans to open its first Australian warehouse at Dandenong South, where it has purchased a 24,000-square-metre distribution centre. The move is expected to create hundreds of jobs in the suburb, and the local mayor Jim Memeti said that could grow to thousands.”

Gap stores are closing in Australia

4 August 2017

Business Insider reports that “the US clothing brand Gap is closing in Australia. The luxury brand retailer OrotonGroup, which has the Gap franchise in Australia, says it will discontinue the business locally, with the six stores closing by the end of January 2018. A short time ago, its shares fell 4.7% to $1.00. OrotonGroup, hit by weak retail demand, has been conducting a strategic review of its business. Ross Lane, CEO of OrotonGroup, says the closure of the Gap franchise stores will allow more focus on the strategy for the core Oroton brand.”

Customers hug supermarket boss after shops opens back up

3 August 2017

The Daily Mercury reports that “the IGA at Bucasia has reopened with a fresh new look. Former owner Barry Entwistle put the shop into voluntary administration in October last year. Cornetts Supermarkets chief executive officer Graham Booysen, who has opened the store on Thursday, said there would be a focus on delivering fresh produce to customers. Cornetts owns 31 supermarkets across the state, including Sarina, Collinsville, Clermont, Dysart and Middlemount.”


Transtex appoints liquidators

28 August 2017

Big Rigs reports that “Geelong-based transport company Transtex Logistics PTY LTD has been placed into liquidation, notifying all drivers of the change Sunday afternoon. A notice to employees, allegedly sent via text message informed drivers that they should not return to work the next morning:  "Dear staff, It is with regret that the business known as Transtex Logistics Pty Ltd has shut it’s [sic] doors and will cease to trade, effective this afternoon Sunday 27th August 2017." “

Cardwell Coast Guard still bogged while harbour developers go under

26 August 2017

Cairns Post reports that “neighbouring flotillas will still be called on for rescue missions as silt build-up at Port Hinchinbrook continues to bog down the local coast guard. The State Government has ruled out action after Hinchinbrook Harbour developers The Passage Holdings Pty Ltd went into liquidation earlier this month. A Cardwell Coast Guard QF23 spokesman said the canal was “getting worse and worse”, with its primary rescue vessel, Stella G, left sitting in the mud mostly because of the lack of water.”

RMD Logistics’ assets sold following court order

22 August 2017

ATN reports that “all assets related to Perth-based RMD Logistics have been bought by local business Distribution Solutions Perth Pty Ltd, liquidation firm RSM informs ATN. The move came after the Supreme Court of Western Australia ordered the company to wind up its business following a dispute between co-owners. Liquidators were appointed on the day of the court decision, August 10, to undertook a "just and equitable" distribution of the business.”

50 Toowoomba jobs saved as company avoids receivership

8 August 2017

The Chronicle reports that “earlier this year, it looked like more than 50 employees from the Toowoomba branch of technical services company WellDog Pty Ltd would be cashing their final pay cheques. Months later their jobs are secure and they're working for a successor, Qteq Pty Ltd. ProX Pty Ltd - a seed start-up capital venture company headed by Simon Ashton - provided the financial support to ensure the Queensland operation remained a going concern during receivership.”

Hanjin Shipping struggles to find cash to pay creditors

8 August 2017

The Australian reports that “South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping, which roiled global trade and temporarily marooned more than half a million cargo containers when it filed for bankruptcy, says it has raised only a fraction of what it needs to repay creditors, whose claims total about $US10.5 billion ($13.2bn). In court papers filed on Friday with the US Bankruptcy Court, the trustee overseeing the carrier’s bankruptcy proceeding in Seoul said Hanjin had raised about $US220 million since filing for bankruptcy nearly a year ago.”

Tipping point: illegal dumping swamps waste industry

6 August 2017

The Border Mail reports that “the warehouse in Melbourne's outer north was supposed to be filled with scrap metal and broken glass, overflow storage for a nearby recycling business. It wasn't until the company collapsed into insolvency six months later, that the warehouse doors were opened to reveal a potential health and environmental disaster on Melbourne's suburban fringe: pallets of steel drums and plastic tubs, stacked to the ceiling, filled with mercury, contaminated powders, leaking batteries, and suspected X-ray machine parts. Almost 800 containers of highly toxic material, abandoned by a company that no longer operated.”

Automated trucks to prompt industry consolidation

2 August 2017

Prime Mover Magazine reports that “Prime Mover columnist, Brendan Richards, has predicted that the implementation of automated truck technology may soon prompt a massive consolidation of transport operators. As part of his Logistics Mindset column in the July edition of Prime Mover magazine, Richards suggested that self-driving automation technology might pose a threat to owner-drivers, which make up a significant portion of the 40,000 operators in the Australian transport sector.”


Seniors abandoned - agent goes belly up

23 August 2017

Whitsunday Times reports that “twenty-six stranded Melbourne seniors have been given a $25,000 lifeline from an Airlie Beach business owner after the sudden collapse of their tour operator. Customers of Victorian-based companies Seniors Coach Tours, Young at Heart Holidays and Australian Air Holidays were told on Monday their trips had been cancelled because the parent company had gone into administration. Returning from a trip to Hamilton Island, midway through what was supposed to be the holiday of a lifetime, the group was told by their coach driver to fend for themselves.”

AFTA revokes ATAS status of Victorian business

22 August 2017

Travel Weekly reports that “the Victorian based travel business is reportedly entering liquidation, with AFTA making the call after being contacted by the appointed liquidator, who has started the process of winding up the business. In a statement, AFTA said they had “been made aware that there are a number of consumers impacted by this situation and it would appear that the industry is doing what it can to assist under the circumstances.”

Calls for Government intervention into Port Hinchinbrook project

12 August 2017

The Townsville Bulletin reports “three liquidators, more than 100 trapped residents, huge debts, sewage overflows, bankrupt developers and broken-down property in and adjacent to World Heritage Hinchinbrook Island. This is the nightmare that was to be the international resort of Port Hinchinbrook at Cardwell and former award-winning Cape Richards resort on Hinchinbrook Island. The tragic circumstances in what should be a tourism drawcard have led to calls for government intervention.”

Leeton Shire Council releases 2016-17 Leeton golf course figures

9 August 2017

The Irrigator reports that “it wasn’t a profit, but it was less of a loss. Leeton Shire Council has released its 2016-17 financial year figures for the town’s golf course. While the facility still isn’t close to turning a profit, in fact not many in the state do, the news was positive when it came down to the numbers. Council had budgeted a loss of $150,000 for the course during the 2016-17 year, but it came in at $97,047.”

National hotel chain plans 're-birth' of iconic Rocky location

8 August 2017

The Morning Bulletin reports that “economics lecturer turned national hotel-chain boss Sid Knell plans to "re-birth” an iconic Rockhampton location. The Bridge Motor Inn caught the Central Apartment Group CEO's eye as he looked to expand his Central Queensland footprint. The Bolsover St business went into voluntary administration in March, but Mr Knell said its central location and refurbishment potential made it the clear choice to add to his chain.”

Pelathon doubles Orana Hotel value

4 August 2017

The Shout reports that “Pelathon Management Group has sold Orana Hotel in NSW’s Lake Macquarie region for $4.2 million. Jaz Mooney and Darren Baker of Pelathon purchased the Orana Hotel a year ago for roughly $2 million from bankruptcy trustee BRI Ferrier, after seeing the pub’s potential to be a good trader. They undertook an extensive renovation to make the pub a more welcoming venue.”

A slice of happiness for duo

4 August 2017

The Ipswich Advertiser reports that “when pizza chain Eagle Boys went into voluntary administration last year, this affected one Ipswich family who worked for the company. Tracey Heilbronn and her son Jessee, who worked at both the Raceview and North Ipswich stores, found themselves in a situation where they weren't sure what their next step was. "We both opened the Eagle Boys' stores back in October 2011,” Mrs Heilbronn said. "When the 2013 floods hit, we were there giving out pizza to all the relief workers.”

Wanna buy a train? You’re on the right track here

2 August 2017

The Australian reports that “the ACT branch of the Australian Railway Historical Society is in liquidation and several historic train carriages will be auctioned today. Deloitte’s Eddie Senatore is overseeing the liquidation and said a train auction was rare, ­especially in the ACT or NSW. He said potential buyers he had spoken to wanted to maintain the assets’ historical significance and connection.”


CBS deal values Network Ten above $500 million

30 August 2017

The Australian Financial Review reports that “CBS' shock bid for Network Ten, which gazumped Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon, values the free-to-air broadcaster at $500 million at least. A report on the state of Ten's finances in administration and the sale process is expected to be given to creditors on Thursday. The United States media giant put in a claim for $795.5 million after Ten went into administration, making it the Australian broadcaster's largest creditor.”

Australia’s Fairfax Media back in the black

16 August 2017

The reports that “Australian publishing giant Fairfax Media on Wednesday posted a return to profit following a cost-cutting drive, although advertising revenue for its major newspapers weakened further. Fairfax -- which owns The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review -- reported an annual net profit of Aus$83.9 million (US$65.7 million) in the year to June 30. The turnaround followed a Aus$772.6 million loss reported over a previous 12-month period.”

Last call: One.Tel liquidator lays the ghost for Lachlan Murdoch, James Packer to rest

14 August 2017

The Sydney Morning Herald Reports that “James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch get to lay a ghost from their youth to rest this week when One.Tel holds a final meeting for creditors and shareholders on Thursday, at Sydney's Masonic Centre, and bring the sorry saga to an end. "The last thing that really we were processing over the last two months was the final dividend," said Ferrier Hodgson's now retired managing partner, Steve Sherman.”

NBN subcontractor goes under amid fresh complaints over ‘pyramid structure’

11 August 2017

The Australian reports that “the troubled National Broadband Network construction process has once again come under scrutiny with a Victoria-based NBN subcontractor, Trilogie Resourcing, going into receivership. The action has seen 55 telco technicians working on the Telstra copper network and maintaining the NBN sacked on-the-spot on Friday, with unions saying that Trilogie’s troubles are a direct result of the faulty contracting structure used to roll out the NBN.”

Geronimo leaps to Tapit Media's rescue; snaps up NFC firm

10 August 2017

AdNews reports that “nearly two years after launching in Australia mobile CX company Geronimo, led by Amobee's former MD Matt Hunt, has acquired Tapit Media; a global tech platform enabling Near Field Communications (NFC) for marketing. Hunt says NFC technology is a major growth area in mobile marketing and the deal brings proprietary technology, data and IP to the Geronimo tech stack. It also sees founder of Tapit Jamie Conyngham join the Geronimo management team as the CEO of the Tapit business.”

Telstra partner goes down after commission structure revamp

9 August 2017

ARN Net reports that “Telstra partner, Interactive Telecoms, has gone into voluntary administration after the company was hit by financial difficulties arising from ongoing changes in the way Telstra structures its commissions for licensed retailers. According to the company’s former business development manager, Andrew Wulff, the changes to the commission structure - which sees the telco remunerate licensed retailers for products and solutions sold under the Telstra banner - that were implemented by Telstra were allegedly poorly communicated to its partner.”

Avaya names new CEO in bankruptcy exit plan

8 August 2017

CRN reports that “Avaya has revealed its steps toward exiting Chapter 11 bankruptcy, including the appointment of a new chief executive, agreements with priority creditors and a debt reduction of more than US$3 billion. The unified communications vendor announced overnight that it had entered into a plan support agreement (PSA) with more than 50 percent of the holders of its “first lien debt”. Negotiations with Avaya creditors of the "ad hoc group of first lien creditors" have led to an agreement to wipe more than US$3 billion from the vendor’s debts.”


Acquire Learning's CareerOne sold to new company called Career Media Group

3 August 2017

The Brisbane Times reports that “administrators of collapsed education company Acquire Learning have sold its single biggest asset - online job search site CareerOne - to a media group. A 90 per cent stake in CareerOne was sold for an undisclosed sum to Octomedia. Creditors will discover the sum at the next creditors meeting in September.”


Thai company buys Perth waste business

28 August 2017

Business Insider reports that “three interconnected waste businesses in Perth face a sudden change of fortune after Aurigen Group went into voluntary liquidation.”

Balmain Corp completes d'Albora takeover

21 August 2017

Marine Business reports that “Sydney-based finance company, Balmain Corporation has announced the finalisation of the purchase of the d'Albora marina group from Ardent Leisure Group. When it was announced in December last year, the $126 million deal was said to involve the seven d'Albora marinas in Victoria and NSW being acquired by a joint syndicate venture owned by Balmain Corporation and Goldman Sachs. Last week's statement from Balmain Corporation makes no mention of Goldman Sachs although a company spokesperson confirmed there are other parties involved in the deal.”

Bankruptcy fight over Oncor to test Warren Buffett's discipline

20 August 2017

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that “Warren Buffett takes pride in naming his price to buy a company, and not paying a nickel more. But the largest US natural gas distribution utility, an unyielding hedge fund, and a Delaware bankruptcy judge now present one of the biggest challenges to the billionaire's legendary discipline.”

Profit guidance is no silver bullet for investors

11 August 2017

The Australian Financial Review reports that “to guide, or not to guide – that is the question. One week into the 2017 profit reporting season and this old chestnut about whether companies should provide earnings guidance is, with apologies to William Shakespeare, firmly back on the agenda. Lukewarm guidance issued this week by top performing retailer Nick Scali prompted a near 10 per cent fall in the stock.”

Bellamy’s paid more for Camperdown Powder cannery

9 August 2017

The Australian reports that “infant formula maker Bellamy’s was enticed to pay $1.5 million above its original offer for the Camperdown Powder cannery by vendors who were at the time on the brink of collapse. The owners were shoved into administration just days after the Bellamy’s deal was closed. It has also emerged that a mysterious Hong Kong investment fund had made a non-binding indicative offer of $45m for Camperdown Powder at the same time but that was dismissed as unviable due to a range of earnings targets it demanded.”


Federal Court dismisses bankruptcy proceedings by developer Theo Maras against ex-friend John Lesses

30 August 2017

The Advertiser reports that “Adelaide property mogul Theo Maras has lost a court bid potentially to bankrupt his childhood friend John Lesses. The Federal Court this week upheld Mr Lesses’ application to have bankruptcy proceedings dismissed as part of a long-running defamation battle between the retired SA Industrial Relations Commissioner and Mr Maras. Outspoken businessman Mr Maras filed proceedings against Mr Lesses in a bid to recover $75,000 in damages owed to him after he successfully sued Mr Lesses for defamation over comments he made in communications to the Greek community.”

Kleenmaid: Andrew Young pleads not guilty to $13m fraud

28 August 2017

The Sunshine Coast Daily reports that “former Kleenmaid director Andrew Eric Young has pleaded not guilty to fraud and insolvency trading charges. At Brisbane District Court on Monday, Judge Brian Devereaux described the charges as being of two basic types. "One is called fraud. The other is called insolvent trading," he said. The court heard the fraud charge related to an allegation Young dishonestly got a loan from Westpac.”

Insolvency reform: How liquidator Stuart Ariff put focus on creditors' rights

27 August 2017

The Australian Financial Review reports that “it is serendipity that the final suite of insolvency reforms largely inspired by the misconduct of disgraced liquidator Stuart Ariff will be introduced the same month Ariff finishes his parole, after serving a jail sentence on 19 counts of criminal fraud. ASIC Commissioner John Price sees the various reforms, including increased powers to the regulator, tougher education standards and enhanced powers to creditors, as a watershed moment for an industry that was found in a senate inquiry to be susceptible to fee gouging, conflicts of interest, lacking in transparency and riddled with conflicts.”

A recent court decision regarding the payment of a death benefit to a bankrupted beneficiary has important estate planning implications for SMSFs, warns an industry lawyer.

24 August 2017

SMSF Adviser reports that “Christian Pakpahan from DBA Lawyers explained that a decision handed down by the Federal Court of Australia last year for the matter of Morris v Morris [2016] FCA 846 clarified that broadly death benefit payments will be protected from creditors. Mr Pakpahan said this is on the basis that “the payments were determined using the exercise of appropriate powers of superannuation fund trustees and that they are directly received by the bankrupt”.”

Popular Coast vet shuts down

18 August 2017

Sunshine Daily reports that “a well-established Sunshine Coast vet surgery has closed suddenly, leaving pet owners devastated. Currimundi Veterinary Surgery posted on Facebook on Thursday, August 10, that it would cease trading from that day, the door closing on a business that had been running for 19 years. The post outlined plans to re-open in the coming weeks under new ownership, while directing patients to alternative vets in the meantime.”

ACCC Pursues $50,000 Penalty Against Printer Cartridge Scammer

15 August 2017

Channel News reports that “the ACCC has launched action against a man previously ordered to pay $50,000 for his involvement in the “false or misleading representations” of a telemarketing company selling printer cartridges. The Federal Court found in 2013 that Artorios Ink had engaged in “misleading or deceptive” conduct in its operation selling printer cartridges to businesses between 2008 and 2012, and had made “false or misleading representations” to five small businesses. Tuan Nguyen, the sole director of Artorios Ink, was ordered by the Federal Court to pay $50,000 for breaches of consumer law.”

Judge's decision cracks open $1.9m fraud case

14 August 2017

The Australian Broker reports that “the district court judge who handed down an eight year, nine-month jail sentence to former broker Michael Samra has described the $1.9m case as “a consistent and persistent demonstration of fraud” through actions that were “premeditated, deliberate and repetitive”. In the final ruling, Her Honour Judge Geraldine Davison described the circumstances which led to Samra pleading guilty to six counts of deception.”

Insolvency sector urged to embrace accountability

14 August 2017

Invest in Australia reports that “the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has called on the insolvency sector to improve its accountability and transparency or face louder calls for increased regulation. Speaking at the Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association (ARITA) conference in Melbourne, Ombudsman Kate Carnell said there should be an external dispute resolution process or tribunal to hear complaints. “Small business operators are often confused about the role of receivers, how they charge and what their timeframes are,” she said.”

Date set for hearing of Arup dispute with receivers of BrisConnections

9 August 2017

The Australian reports that “the prolonged legal battle between the receivers of the toll road company BrisConnections and Arup is once again heating up, with a trial in the Federal Court set for mid-October. The trial will proceed if the two parties cannot reach a settlement through mediation, which has recently been ordered by the Federal Court. Global engineering firm Arup is facing allegations over inaccurate forecasts for traffic volumes for the Brisbane AirportlinkM7 when it was constructed, and is being sued for as much as $2 billion.”

REVEALED: How many Fraser Coast businesses have gone bust

8 August 2017

The Fraser Coast Chronicle reports that “twelve Fraser Coast businesses have declared insolvency in the last financial quarter. Four of the businesses were from Hervey Bay and eight were from Maryborough. The figures released by the Australian Financial Security Authority revealed how many new incidences of financial problems occurred in the region between April 2017 and June 2017.”

Bankruptcy bombshell: Coast suburbs hit hard by financial collapse

8 August 2017

The Sunshine Coast Daily reports that “latest figures reveal personal insolvency has sky-rocketed in one Coast suburb and continues to climb in another. The total number of debtors in Nambour jumped from 17 in the March Quarter of 2017 to 27 in the June Quarter of this year. Personal insolvency also increased in Maroochy, from 24 debtors to 27 in the same time frame.”

High number of debtors revealed in Bunbury

2 August 2017

The Bunbury Mail reports that “Bunbury has topped the list of regional personal insolvency statistics for Western Australia in June 2017. The Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) recently released regional personal insolvency and business-related personal insolvency statistics for the June quarter this year. More than 7700 debtors entered a new personal insolvency in the time period throughout Australia, a fall of 311 debtors, or 3.9 per cent compared to the March 2017 quarter statistics.”


Talking Point: Clear lessons for East Coast fish farm plans

12 August 2017

The Mercury reports that “Tassal was in receivership in 2002 when the receiver manager acquired another salmon company, Nortas, and the combined business was floated on the stock exchange in October 2003. In 2005 the new Tassal merged with a third salmon company (Aquatas) which is now the basis of Tassal today. In 2005 the combined HOG (head on gutted) production of the merged companies was about 12,000 tonnes. Tassal has doubled production since.”


ACCC clears the way for Illyria and Birketu to acquire Ten

24 August 2017

Australia Business Review reports that “the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has cleared the buyout of Network Ten by media giants Birketu and Illyria. Birketu, owned by Bruce Gordon, and Illyria, owned by Lachlan Murdoch, propose to each acquire a 50% interest in Ten, and to operate it as a joint venture entity. Gordon and Murdoch have links with a number of media assets in Australia, with some concerned that this move would tighten the moguls’ stranglehold on the country’s media output. However, the ACCC does not see enough threat to competition to block the proposed joint venture takeover.”

Mega $12M expansion revealed for Mackay sports club

23 August 2017

Daily Mercury reports that “five extra fields, lighting, a new clubhouse and seating are all part of a 10-year master plan for Magpies Sporting Club as it prepares for rapid expansion due to the changing demographic of Mackay's sporting community and the impending start of a new state team. The Magpies Crusaders United are preparing to debut in the National Premier League for the 2018 season, and work is underway at Magpies Sporting Club on its $12million master plan.”

Disgraced accountant who ‘ripped off’ footy players hit with $8.4m tax bill

22 August 2017

Herald Sun reports that “a Melbourne man ordered to pay the Australian Tax Office more than $8.4 million had previously been accused of ripping off former AFL footballers. Federal Court judge Jennifer Davies today ordered Philip Whiteman — who claimed his only asset in Australia was a $3000 Ford Falcon — to pay the ATO $8,453,699.99 over an alleged tax avoidance scheme. Justice Davies said Whiteman, from Melbourne, had not filed a defence to the ATO’s claim but was seeking a stay of proceedings, which she dismissed. Two former AFL players had prevously claimed they lost more than $4 million investing with Whiteman, a ‘‘wealth creation specialist”.”

Broken playing group Titans' No.1 issue

21 August 2017

SBS reports that “resolving the differences in a divided playing group looms as the biggest immediate challenge for whoever becomes Gold Coast's next NRL coach. Neil Henry, the man appointed in 2014 following the sacking of foundation coach John Cartwright, was axed on Monday with a year remaining on his contract. It brings an underwhelming end to a coaching tenure during which Henry dragged a club afflicted by boardroom turmoil, off-field drama and recruitment sagas to a first finals appearance in six years in 2016.”

WA premier threatens to bankrupt ARU

21 August 2017

SBS reports that “the WA government is threatening to bankrupt the Australian Rugby Union over the axing of the Western Force. Premier Mark McGowan says his government is getting legal advice and the options include suing for restitution of more than $100 million, which would bankrupt the ARU, or suing for reinstatement. "My ultimatum to the ARU is this - reinstate the Force or we'll use every tool at our disposal to get our money back and if that means the ARU goes bankrupt, so be it," he told reporters on Monday.”

Bailed out, bought out by MCC, Kew bowls club collapses and the blame game begins

11 August 2017

The Age reports that “first we had the 'Single Ladies' of Chadstone Bowls Club. Now another prominent lawn bowls club is in crisis. In 2012, the Kew Heights Sports Club was in deep trouble with "considerable" debts and ageing facilities. To the rescue rode the well-heeled Melbourne Cricket Club foundation, which cleared the debts, and spent more than $4 million upgrading the club's facilities, which include three bowling greens, six tennis courts and a 160-person clubhouse.”

Frankston Dolphins to return to VFL competition in 2018 after AFL Victoria grants its licence

4 August 2017

The Herald Sun reports that “Frankston will return to the VFL competition in 2018 after today having their licence application approved by AFL Victoria. The Dolphins’ licence was stripped last year after the club fell into voluntary administration under a crippling debt in excess of $1 million. Since then the club has been committed to engaging its key stakeholders and last month presented to AFL Victoria a strong application to re-enter the VFL, with a focus on community involvement and “a closer relationship with football clubs across the Peninsula”.”

Aussie basketball needs more work before teams are ready to take on world’s best

2 August 2017

The Cairns Post reports that “down south, Illawarra are going OK at the minute but just over two years ago they decided to place themselves into voluntary administration. Let’s not forget the Townsville Crocodiles folded as they had become too financially unsustainable to continue in April of last year.”


Territory man’s legacy saves South Australian RSL branch

23 August 2017

NT News reports that “a block of land at Darwin River has saved the South Australian RSL branch. The Returned and Services League SA, which has responsibility for the Alice Springs and Tennant Creek sub-branches, went into voluntary administration in April. Creditors laid claim to the RSL’s assets and among them were the Alice Springs RSL, the Tennant Creek RSL and the rich prize of the Top End property. The land belonged to English immigrant James Day, who came to Australia in 1849 and died in 1923. He left a share in his 64ha Darwin River property to the SA RSL.”

Darwin RSL dodges administration bullet after creditors’ decision to sell off assets

1 August 2017

NT News reports that “fears the Darwin RSL would be caught up in the voluntary administration of the South Australian sub-branch have been put to bed. However, the futures of assets belonging to the Alice Springs and Tennant Creek sub-branches are looking grim. Darwin RSL sub-branch president Don Milford said a creditors decision to sell-off assets would not impact Darwin. The Returned and Services League SA went into voluntary administration in April.”


Fairer terms for small business loans locked in as the big four banks sign off on contract changes

23 August 2017

Smart Business reports that “Australia’s big four banks will soon be contacting small business customers to inform them of changes to their loan terms, following what is being described as a hard-fought win for SMEs against unfair banking practices. Fairfax reports the nation’s four biggest financial institutions have now agreed to specific changes that have been pushed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) to ensure small business loans of up to $3 million comply with unfair contract laws.”

ATO maintains aggression on company wind-ups as big end of town targeted with “confessional” style reporting

22 August 2017

Smart Company reports that “insolvency experts say small businesses are “doing it tough”, but that won’t stop the tax office and government bodies from stepping in to apply for company wind-up orders as the Australian Taxation Office continues its more aggressive pursuit of businesses. Figures collated from court insolvency records by Prushka Fast Debt Recovery suggest that 46% of wind-up order applications in insolvency cases between November 2016 and June 2017 came from the ATO, while 19% came from other government sources.”

Bob Day used $109,000 in Homestead Home company funds to pay for Family First political expenses and renovations

19 August 2017

The Advertiser reports that “disgraced former politician and bankrupt businessman Bob Day used funds from his Homestead Homes company to pay political expenses — including renovating his Family First electorate office — when his national building empire was in financial strife, a liquidators’ report says. An investigation into the collapse of the home builder reveals for the first time that the former senator’s Home Australia Group was “almost certainly insolvent” when its SA subsidiary Homestead spent $78,865 renovating Mr Day’s Kent Town electorate office in 2015 and 2016.”



Air Berlin files for insolvency after Etihad withdraws support

15 August 2017

Australian Business Traveller reports that “Air Berlin has filed for insolvency proceedings after main shareholder Etihad Airways withdrew its financial support. The Oneworld member submitted the filing in a local Berlin court, though it won’t seek bankruptcy protection for its Niki and Leisure Cargo units, Air Berlin said in a statement. Talks with Lufthansa and other parties regarding disposals are continuing, it said.”


2 businesses connected to former Ve Interactive boss David Brown have gone into liquidation

25 August 2017

Business Insider reports that “two businesses connected to David J. Brown, the startup founder ousted from ad tech startup Ve Interactive, have gone into liquidation with hundreds of thousands of pounds owed to staff and HMRC. The two firms are boutique shop Clerkenwell London, and high-end furniture maker Tree Couture. Their insolvency marks the continued unravelling of Brown’s business ventures after Ve Interactive was rescued from administration by a consortium of its investors.”



Carmakers granted stay on lawsuits over Takata airbags

17 August 2017

The Australian reports that “a bankruptcy judge has issued a temporary stay, shielding carmakers from many lawsuits over defective Takata airbags. With one notable exception, Judge Brendan Shannon blocked for 90 days litigation against Honda, Toyota, Subaru and other car manufacturers sued along with Takata over airbags that proved dangerous, sometimes fatal, in operation. The stay doesn’t affect the recall of Takata airbags, which is the largest in US history. The judge cited the need to make sure the recall continues.”