July 2018 News Digest – Business Insolvency and Turnaround

01 August 2018

The following are summaries of media stories related to business turnaround and insolvency in Australia during July 2018.


Property and Construction

Ipswich ratepayers short-changed millions by secretive council development arm, audit finds

24 July 2018

ABC News reports that “a secretive development arm of Ipswich City Council broke corporate laws, cut questionable property deals and inappropriately donated $10,000 to an elite school attended by the children of three of its directors, according to state government auditors.”

Subcontractors on HMAS Albatross project need to be paid

23 July 2018

Mirage News reports that “the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, welcomed the NSW Government’s leadership in resolving outstanding payments to subcontractors caught in the Pacific Highway project, with around $7.3 million being owed by a contractor that went into administration.”

Redevelopment takes toll on Scarborough Beach Bar business

21 July 2018

The Sunday Times reports that “a prominent bar on the Scarborough beachfront has gone into administration after the $100 million foreshore redevelopment took a drastic toll on business.”

Federal campaign launched after Pacific Highway subcontractors bailed out by NSW Government

19 July 2018

ABC News reports that “Australia's construction commissioner has launched a campaign aimed to ensure subcontractors in the sector get paid on time. The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) will target firms tendering for Commonwealth projects, contacting and reminding them about their payment obligations.”

Dowling Homes has fallen into liquidation after more than 30-years operating across Adelaide

19 July 2018

The Advertiser reports that “BRI Ferrier's Maris Rudaks was appointed as liquidator on Friday. Mr Rudaks has commenced an investigation into the issues that led to the collapse.”

Lawyers claim failed Unique Estates owes at least $1.35m

17 July 2018

The Australian reports that “international designer Collette Dinnigan is not the only high-powered real estate vendor caught up in the collapse of luxury property firm Unique Estates, with Byron Bay lawyers claiming at least $1.35 million is owed to various clients from the agent’s trust account.”

Melbourne home builder Bayside Construct goes into administration

10 July 2018

The Australian Financial Review reports that “Melbourne builder Bayside Construct, which won a national award last year for the country's best medium-rise residential development, has collapsed under debts of about $20 million.”

Rooftop solar start-up Matter Technology in administration

6 July 2018

Renew Economy reports that “one of Australia’s first solar start-ups to target Australia’s millions of rented households, Matter Technology, has gone into voluntary administration, and is seeking buyers of the business that sought to bust the solar ceiling.”

Former City Pacific boss Phil Sullivan now bankrupt

4 July 2018

The Australian reports that “once the kingpin of loan funding to high-profile developers along the east coast, Gold Coast businessman and financier Phil Sullivan, founder of the collapsed property developer City Pacific group, has quietly declared himself bankrupt with debts of $78 million.”


Battle of Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal in court

30 July 2018

The Australian reports that “the dispute between the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal and its junior lenders is ramping up, with the case that could derail the critical $4 billion-plus refinancing of the cash-strapped asset heading back to court this Friday.”

Land and Environment Court to hear Pasminco appeal over Boolaroo lead monitoring

20 July 2018

The Newcastle Herald reports that “the Land and Environment Court will hear Pasminco’s appeal against the NSW minister for planning’s deemed refusal to modify development conditions at Boolaroo after a conciliation conference this week broke down without an agreement.”


August closure for last Toys R Us stores

26 July 2018

News.com.au reports that “Toys R Us aims to close the doors on its last Australian stores on or around the first weekend of August. Plans to wind up the 44 stores were announced in May and the administrator said on Thursday it has now accelerated the liquidation of stock.”

Dick Smith Foods to close as Aldi kills competitiveness

26 July 2018

The Australian reports that “entrepreneur Dick Smith has today shocked the retail industry by announcing he will close his eponymous Dick Smith Foods business, claiming that the rise and rise of German discount supermarket chain Aldi in Australia has “basically destroyed us”.”

Administrators take over Hennings Jewellers

24 July 2018

The Campbelltown Macarthur Advertiser reports that “one of Macarthur’s most recognisable businesses has entered voluntary administration. Administrators were appointed to Hennings Jewellers at the end of June.”

Ferrier Hodgson throws Sumo Salad back on the menu

23 July 2018

The Australian reports that “healthy eating chain Sumo Salad Group will be put on the block by administrators Ferrier Hodgson which quietly took over the bulk of its 85-store network last week. The owners are looking to restructure the company’s debts but called in Ferrier Hodgson partners Morgan Kelly and Peter Gothard last week after a sales process run last year failed to secure a buyer.”

Allans Billy Hyde parent company goes into liquidation following ATO court case

23 July 2018

Music Feeds reports that “Australian Music Group — the parent company of musical instrument retailers Allans Billy Hyde and Gallin’s Musician’s Pro Shop — has been declared insolvent during a court case involving the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and will be liquidated.”

Doughnut Time to relaunch August 1

19 July 2018

Inside Retail reports that “just four months after going into administration and liquidation, new owners have announced the revival of Doughnut Time under new owner Pete Andros, with the first stores to relaunch August 1.”

Former Dick Smith Boss Now Running Kids Retail Group

15 July 2018

Channel News reports that “Nick Aboud the former CEO of the failed Dick Smith retailer has gone from big boy’s toys to kids toys, taking on the role as CEO of Kidstuff a retail group who are currently expanding their physical store and online operations in Australia.”

Newcastle SuperMoto hits the foreshore despite Graeme Boyd Motorcycles in liquidation

14 July 2018

The Newcastle Herald reports that “motorcycling figure Graeme Boyd says his retail business being in liquidation will not affect the international SuperMoto race he is bringing to Newcastle for the fourth time this September.”

Life Savers lollies back in Australian hands

12 July 2018

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that “Life Savers, the classic Australian lollies, are set to return to Australian ownership and again be manufactured locally after confectionery maker Darrell Lea struck a deal to buy the brand from Swiss-based food giant Nestle.”

Creditors conclude Oroton has nil value

11 July 2018

Business News Australia reports that “in what comes as a brutal final blow to classic Australian brand Oroton (ASX: ORL), creditors have valued the equity in Oroton as nil. This conclusion will be presented to the NSW courts on July 27th, where the future of the embattled retailer will be decided.”

Cobbler Plus and Watch Works collapse as administrators blame “stubbornly high” retail rent costs

2 July 2018

SmartCompany reports that “a chain of 114 watch and shoe repair businesses across Australia has entered voluntary administration, spelling further grim times for the struggling retail sector as business owners continue to battle high rents.”

Tourism and Hospitality

Top restaurateur and Rick Shores head chef James Brady goes bankrupt

25 July 2018

The Gold Coast Bulletin reports that “Gold Coast restaurateur and top head chef James Brady, who started his food career peeling potatoes in a famous London fish-and-chip shop, has ...

Behind The Ku De Ta Chef Walkout

11 July 2018

The Broadsheet reports that “the decision to walk out of work on Saturday afternoon doesn’t sit well with Liam Atkinson and his fellow Ku De Ta chefs. But after months of ownership uncertainty came to a head with Ku De Ta going into voluntary administration, the precinct’s former executive chef says the cooks felt it was time they started looking out for themselves.”

‘Pioneering’ Pilbara hotel group collapses

11 July 2018

The West Australian reports that “a pioneering” Pilbara accommodation group that boasted a property portfolio worth tens of millions of dollars during the mining boom has gone under. Auzcorp, owned by Pilbara entrepreneur Haniff Kassim, was put into the hands of administrators from Ferrier Hodgson on Thursday along with eight associated companies.”

Staff in lurch as million-dollar debt forces Cobb Lane cafe closure

10 July 2018

Star Weekly reports that “workers left high and dry by the sudden closure of popular Yarraville cafe could be bailed out by the federal government as they chase more than $160,000 in outstanding payments. Cobb Lane bakery-cafe owner Matthew Forbes says he had no choice but to liquidate the company behind the business after racking up a $1 million debt.”

Ahoy Buccaneers enters voluntary administration as passengers chase refunds for cancelled Kimberley cruises

3 July 2018

ABC News reports that “a trouble-plagued cruise company has gone into administration leaving travellers across Australia, owed thousands of dollars, shocked and angry. Ahoy Buccaneers made headlines last year when it nearly stranded a passenger on a remote beach in Western Australia's Kimberley region.”


Embraer upbeat about Australian opportunities

16 July 2018

Australian Aviation reports that “Embraer is looking ahead to its fifth decade in Australia with confidence given its lineup of regional jets stand ready to replace the large number of older generation aircraft in this part of the world. The Brazilian aerospace giant first entered the Australian market 40 years ago, in 1978, when the EMB-110 Bandeirante went into service.”

Fly Corporate to bring flights to Melbourne and Brisbane back to Dubbo

11 July 2018

The Daily Liberal reports that “a major announcement has been made by Dubbo Regional Council and Fly Corporate on Wednesday morning. Fly Corporate has brought back flights from Dubbo to Brisbane and Dubbo to Melbourne.”

Bike-sharing company oBike's Australian future uncertain after overseas liquidation

6 July 2018

ABC News reports that “the future of oBike in Australia is uncertain after the bike-sharing company went into liquidation in Singapore and pulled out of operations in Melbourne.”

Rossair calls in administrators

5 July 2018

The Australian reports that “the economics of the airline charter market are being closely watched after Adelaide-based Rossair yesterday announced it had gone into voluntary administration after months of “extreme adversities” stemming from a fatal crash last year.”


Indy Production House Moth Projects Creative Calls In The Administrators

19 July 2018

B&T reports that “Sydney-based production company Moth Projects Creative has gone into voluntary administration. According to a notice on ASIC’s website, administrators were appointed to the company last Wednesday, with the first meeting of Moth’s creditors set for Monday 23 July.”

Seven West-backed user-generated video platform Crowdspark goes into liquidation

18 July 2018

Mumbrella reports that “Seven West-backed video service Crowdspark, formerly New Zulu, has gone into liquidation following a strategic review by the company’s management. The ASX-listed user-generated content management company promised “to make everyone with a smartphone a potential journalist” and at one stage was endorsed by Pauline Hanson.”


Aussie start-up ups the stakes in global fight with Google

14 June 2018

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that “a Murdoch-backed Aussie start-up has dramatically upped the stakes in its do-or-die death match with Google. The Australian arm of Unlockd, a company that allows android phone users to gain credits by "unlocking" their phone to view ads, entered into voluntary administration on Tuesday, blaming Google.”


While Tristan fought for his country, his money disappeared

27 July 2018

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that “Tristan Chapman was in Afghanistan fighting for his country when an investment he made to secure his family’s future started to unravel. Before heading overseas Chapman had put his money into schemes run by ASX-listed Great Southern after attending a conference by financial adviser and former bankrupt Steve Navra, who now operates in Melbourne under the name Steve Navratil with a new business My Property Mentor.”

Personal insolvency rates rise 3 years in row

23 July 2018

Mortgage Business reports that “personal insolvencies in Australia rose by 5.6 per cent in the 2017–18 financial year, according to new data from the government. Statistics released by the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) shows that the rate of personal insolvencies has increased steadily for three consecutive years, growing by 4.4 per cent in 2015–16, 2.1 per cent in 2016–17, and 5.6 per cent in 2017–18.”

Court liquidates two super businesses over alleged misused million

11 July 2018

The New Daily reports that “a Brisbane court has ordered the liquidation of two businesses connected to a Sunshine Coast man accused of misusing $1.4 million. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission asked the Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday to wind up Brett Andrew Gordon’s financial planning business Refocus and his partner’s business Consultia Super.”

Small Business

Posh Printing into admin

23 July 2018

ProPrint reports that “Posh Printing Castlereagh St in Sydney’s CBD, is now under voluntary administration, following the company’s other store in Pitt Street going into liquidation eight weeks ago. The Castlereagh centre is still trading, with a creditor’s meeting to take place next week, on July 24.”

‘We want our super’: victims of bankrupt director still unpaid

14 July 2018

The Courier reports that “the bankrupt director of a company liquidated owing almost $400,000 to creditors was previously the principal of a Bartercard franchise in Ballarat which has failed to pay commissions, wages and superannuation to staff, say former employees.”


Bankruptcy surge hits young families in WA and Queensland hardest

31 July 2018

ABC News reports that “more than 32,000 Australians declared bankruptcy during the 2018 financial year, with households in both of the country's resource-dependant states, Western Australia and Queensland, still doing it tough.”

Ex-winemaker and bankrupt Andrew Morton Garrett sends lawyer to court in his place over alleged $6m tax scam

28 July 2018

The Advertiser reports that “bankrupt ex-winemaker Andrew Morton Garrett will face court again in October over allegations he attempted to defraud $6 million from the taxman.”

VIP Security boss Adam Marcinkowski put company into liquidation six days before hearing

25 July 2018

The Gold Coast Bulletin reports that “VIP security boss Adam Marcinkowski put his company into liquidation six days before a hearing found he breached the Fair Work Act 14 times.”

The conman's revenge: How one man tricked Victorian judges into bankrupting his enemies

22 July 2018

ABC News reports that “when letters from debt collection agencies began landing in Con Mancuso's letterbox, he assumed it was junk mail. He had no idea that he'd already been declared bankrupt by a judge in the then-Federal Magistrates Court, with more than a million dollars of unpaid debts against his and his wife's name — debts that didn't exist.”

Illegal phoenix activity costing economy up to $5.13b a year

16 July 2018

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that “whistleblowers will be given a hotline from Monday to report companies liquidating and creating “phoenix” entities to avoid paying debts, with a new report from the government estimating this activity is costing the economy $2.85 billion to $5.13 billion a year.”

New litigation case sees SMSF auditor responsible for losses

13 July 2018

SMSF Advisor reports that “a decision by the NSW Court of Appeal which held an SMSF auditor responsible for losses incurred by an SMSF indicates that SMSF auditors are being “held to a high standard by courts”, says an industry lawyer.”

Ex-union boss Michael Williamson spent stolen money on good living: trustee

10 July 2018

The Australian reports that “the Sydney bankruptcy trustee put in charge of investigating ­Michael Williamson’s financial affairs says the jailed former union boss and family were “turned upside down” during his hunt for any hidden funds.”

Not For Profit

Six-month wait for pay rate confirmation: FSG

13 July 2018

Echonet Daily reports that “front line staff employed by FSG, a disability service provider that recently went into voluntary administration, have been given until Monday (July 16) to accept an offer from CPL. Staff were notified by text on Thursday morning that they would be required to have the paperwork into the office by Monday confirming their acceptance of the contract.”

Yanco All-Servicemen's Club experiencing debt troubles, community's help is needed

12 July 2018

The Irrigator reports that “Yanco All-Servicemen’s Club future is on shaky ground, with the business $443,000 in debt.”


Ex-Clough boss Gallagher dismisses Forge sale suspicions

21 July 2018

The West Australian reports that “former Clough boss Kevin Gallagher has rejected claims he recommended the sale of its Forge Group stake because he knew more than investors of problems that led to the engineering company’s $800 million collapse.”

Primary Industry

Quintis rebels claim rights to Kununurra scheme

24 July 2018

The West Australian reports that “Frank Wilson’s breakaway group of growers has thrown more barbs at Quintis’ receivers after claiming another victory over the failed company’s sandalwood schemes. The Sandalwood Growers Co-operative, backed by former Quintis boss Mr Wilson, said growers in the 2003 managed investment scheme had backed its strategy by voting for Huntley Management to replace Quintis as the responsible entity of the northern WA project.”

Coomboona dairy farm on the market

18 July 2018

Country News reports that “administrators for Coomboona Holdings are putting up the big Undera dairy business for sale. The company was placed in voluntary administration in March. The dairy business gained significant coverage when Harvey Norman founder and executive chairman Gerry Harvey announced his company had bought 49.9 per cent of the business in September 2015.”


Candidate running in Braddon by-election an undischarged bankrupt, unlikely to be eligible

25 July 2018

ABC News reports that “a candidate for the upcoming Braddon by-election would likely be ineligible for office under section 44 of the constitution because he is an undischarged bankrupt.”

Boomanulla Oval plan infuriates Indigenous community

24 July 2018

The Canberra Times reports that “a plan to return Boomanulla Oval to Indigenous control has been rejected by the ACT government in a shock decision criticised for ignoring Aboriginal self-determination. The neglected park in Narrabundah has huge cultural significance to the local Aboriginal community, but is currently managed by the government after its previous owners went into voluntary administration in 2014.”

Business chamber ‘goes bust’ shock

9 July 2018

The Bayside News reports that “the members of a major business chamber group in Frankston will vote later this month on putting the organisation into voluntary administration. The Frankston Business Network (FBN), also known as the Greater Frankston Business Chamber, wrote to its members on Thursday (5 July) to advise a special meeting vote will be held on Thursday 26 July.”


Vehicle training company collapses, leaving workers and students in lurch

16 July 2018

The Courier reports that “workers and students alike have been left in the lurch after a Delacombe-based training provider went into liquidation late last week. Staff at Journey Management in Kennedy’s Drive, Delacombe were informed the company had ceased to trade at close of business on Friday, July 13, and on Monday a liquidator had been appointed.”

Ex-Vocation founder Brett Whitford emerges with links to IPO hopeful Performcom

3 July 2018

The Australian reports that “the co-founder and largest shareholder of the collapsed private education provider Vocation Limited has emerged as the key player behind initial public offering hopeful Performcom.”


WAFL: Hopes high for West Perth recovery

30 July 2018

The Wannaroo Times reports that “West Perth supporters bought about 100 memberships and merchandise last week to help the oldest WAFL club claw its way back from an $800,000 debt during voluntary administration.”

Load the Cannons: Cal Bruton calls for NBL team in Canberra

29 July 2018

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that “self-confessed "baller for life" and basketball legend Cal Bruton has called for the rebirth of a Canberra-based NBL franchise and hopes the impending arrival of the Illawarra Hawks can help make it happen.”

Mosman Rowers Club needs $150k within weeks to avoid closure

18 July 2018

The Daily Telegraph reports that “the club needs a cash injection to help reopen the doors, otherwise it will be shut down.”

Air + Style festival promotors go into liquidation, debut Australian event cancelled

11 July 2018

The Music Network reports that “The inaugural Aussie edition of Air + Style festival – snowboarder Shaun White’s music and snow sports event – has been canned. Mere weeks out from its scheduled debut, the festival’s local promoter, Moore Sports International, went into liquidation last week.“



India’s new bankruptcy code driving a debt clearout

2 July 2018

The Australian reports that “hundreds of companies are headed for bankruptcy proceedings in India, and that’s a good thing. A new bankruptcy code sets a tight timetable for a defaulting company to deal with its debt: If it doesn’t come up with a solution in nine months, the company is liquidated.”