June 2018 News Digest – Business Insolvency and Turnaround

02 July 2018

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


Property and Construction

Building failures hit WA for up to $654m

25 June 2018

The West Australian reports that “WA is paying an astronomical price for construction industry insolvencies with a State Government discussion paper revealing that failing building companies cost the economy between $337 million and $654 million in 2016-17.”

Subcontractors not paid yet for work on $35m Gold Coast Topgolf park

14 June 2018

ABC News reports that “subcontractors who built a new $35 million golf park on Queensland's Gold Coast are up to $500,000 out of pocket for their work, a group says.”

Metro Builders' collapse leaves families with half-built homes, tradies in debt

14 June 2018

ABC News reports that “a central Queensland man impacted by the collapse of a local building company says he did not know his family's half-built "dream home" would not be finished — until he read a note in the company's window.”


Ex-Kimberley Diamonds exec acquitted in ASIC case

27 June 2018

Lawyerly reports that “the former head of Australian mining company Kimberley Diamonds has been acquitted of charges that he signed off on market statements that assumed luxury retailer Tiffany & Co would pay higher prices for the company’s rare yellow diamonds.”

Potential risk to sacred sites after Indigenous group hide payments from Adani

22 June 2018

SBS News reports that “in court documents, the Townsville-based Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation admitted it failed to report around $1.5 million in payments from Adani in the financial years ending 2015 and 2016.”

Court time over Clough insider trading claim

20 June 2018

The West Australian reports that “Santos boss Kevin Gallagher is among former officials of Clough and the collapsed Forge Group set to be grilled in court by liquidators over a circa $200 million claim of insider trading between the two engineering companies.”

Linc Energy fallout simmers away

19 June 2018

The Chronicle reports that “fallout from Linc Energy dramas will drag on after a $5.5 million dispute flared up.”

Queensland Nickel approves plans to restart Yabulu Refinery

6 June 2018

Australian Mining reports that “Clive Palmer’s QNI Resources is a step closer to reopening the Yabulu Nickel Refinery in Queensland. Palmer today released a statement saying QNI had approved plans to reopen the facility near Townsville in yet another twist for this ongoing saga.”


Cobbler Plus and Watch Works enter voluntary administration

28 June 2018

The Australian reports that “there isn’t the money there used to be in the noble craft of cobbling or watch repair, with Cobbler Plus Services and Watch Works Australia collapsing into voluntary administration tonight, putting at risk around 200 jobs across 114 retail locations.”

Oliver Brown to exit voluntary administration

26 June 2018

Inside Retail reports that “struggling cafe chain Oliver Brown will exit voluntary administration in coming weeks. On Monday, the majority of creditors have voted to back the current management team, led by director Eric Song, to continue holding the reigns.”

“Difficult conditions” cited as music retailers Allans Billy Hyde and Gallin’s enter voluntary administration

25 June 2018

The Music Network reports that “two Australian music retailers have gone into voluntary administration, with their administrator Ferrier Hodgson citing “the difficult conditions in the music industry as a contributing factor”.

Ferrier Hodgson is calling for expressions of interest for a sale of Allans Billy Hyde Pty Ltd (Allans Billy Hyde) and Gallin’s Musicians Pro Shop Pty Ltd (Gallin’s).”

Flip Out Darwin drama after its national franchisor takes back control of embattled business

25 June 2018

NT News reports that “Flip Out has been operating the Darwin indoor trampoline playground for the past four weeks after the previous owners went into voluntary administration earlier.”

Chocolate cafe into liquidation

25 June 2018

Business News reports that “the Perth-based Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe franchise has been placed into liquidation, just over a year after the business opened on St George’s Terrace.”

Fun and games in store as Toys ‘R’ Us closes down

23 June 2018

The Australian reports that “failed toy retailer Toys “R” Us has slashed prices by as much as 30 per cent in a closing-down sale that will send shockwaves through the nation’s $3.7 billion toy and games industry.”

Deep pockets not enough to guarantee success

19 June 2018

Inside Retail reports that “Wesfarmers knew it was buying a renovator’s delight with Homebase, but it now concedes it misjudged the challenges in the UK and Ireland.”

Melbourne consumer electronics vendor Kaiser Baas liquidated owing $3.8m

13 June 2018

CRN reports that “Melbourne-based consumer electronics vendor Kaiser Baas has entered liquidation, seven months after selling the brand to New Zealand distributor Exeed.”

Kambo’s enters voluntary administration

13 June 2018

Appliance Retailer reports that “after 28 years of operation, Western Australian retailer Kambo’s has placed itself into voluntary administration.”

Rohan Aujard convicted of lying in bankruptcy papers

8 June, 2018

Pharmacy News reports that “Rohan Aujard, founder of the failed Pulse Pharmacy group, has been convicted of making false declarations in relation to his bankruptcy. Mr Aujard, who plead guilty to the charge, was handed a one-year good behaviour bond with conviction and ordered to pay $500 to the court fund.”

Retailers Move To Dump Kaiser Baas Stock

5 June 2018

Channel News reports that “serious questions are being raised about the quality of several Kaiser Baas products sold to Australian retailers by the Melbourne based retailer prior to the Company being placed into liquidation.”

Tourism and Hospitality

Adelaide's Pantelis Charitopoulos probed for collapse of SA companies

22 June 2018

The Adelaide Advertiser reports that “former Golden Chef managing director Pantelis Charitopoulos with sister and former Golden Chef director Marina Ormsby in 2004.”

All-you-can-eat offer bankrupts Chinese hot pot restaurant in just two weeks

18 June 2018

ABC News reports that “a Chinese hot pot restaurant has been forced to close its doors after an all-you-can-eat deal left it more than $100,000 in debt.”

JetGo woes sees regional flights in 'state of crisis' with calls for government to step in

18 June 2018

ABC News reports that “there are calls for the New South Wales Government to subsidise regional airline services, with the voluntary administration of carrier JetGo Australia this month leaving regional communities without direct flights to some capital cities.”

Much-loved Indian restaurant Gogo’s a victim of Perth’s changing culinary landscape

4 June 2018

The West Australian reports that “the liquidator picking through the ashes of one-time cricket and curry culinary hotspot Gogo’s says the restaurant is the latest victim of the seismic shift in Perth’s hospitality landscape.”


Big Review TV directors 'likely' breached duties: administrator

19 June 2018

The Australian Financial Review reports that “the directors of Big Review TV might have breached several of their duties by paying themselves excessively and failing to produce accounts for three years, the administrator of the subsidiary of Big Un has concluded.”

Owner of Melbourne and Sydney’s Child magazines, Copeland Publishing, goes into liquidation

6 June 2018

Mumbrella reports that “the publisher of free parenting publications Sydney’s Child and Melbourne’s Child, Copeland Publishing, has gone into liquidation.”


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.”

At 31, Elizabeth Holmes was worth $4.5 billion. One year later, she had nothing

8 June 2018

Mamamia reports that “in 2015, 31-year-old Elizabeth Holmes was declared the next Steve Jobs. In the same year, the tech entrepreneur was named one of TIME’s Most Influential People in the World, one of Forbes’ Most Powerful Women, and earned the title of Glamour magazine’s Woman of the Year. Twelve months later, Holmes would earn herself just one title: Fraud.”


Global banks may be adopting a 'window dressing' technique used by Lehman Brothers before it went bankrupt

25 June 2018

Business Insider Australia reports that “the Bank for International Settlements has released its annual economic report, and one of the findings highlights that global banks are unceasingly turning to an accounting trick that was popular before the financial crisis.”

What to do in an SMSF’s worst-case-scenario

19 June 2018

Nestegg.com.au reports that “declaring bankruptcy isn’t something anyone wants to do, but SMSF trustees have extra concerns to be aware of, a solicitor has said.”

ASIC launches legal proceedings against former Quintis managing director

15 June 2018

Business News Australia reports that “now defunct and previously ASX listed company Quintis is back in the firing line after ASIC announced it has launched legal proceedings against former Quintis managing director Frank Wilson.”

Viceroy claims scalp in bitter feud with US biotech MiMedx

8 June 2018

The Australian reports that “activist short-seller Viceroy has claimed a scalp in its battle with the US smart-bandages maker MiMedx after the target confessed it would have to restate its earnings for the past four years and hired an acting chief financial officer.”

Retail Food Group sinks to record low as it downgrades earnings

5 June 2018

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that “embattled franchise chain Retail Food Group's share price dived to a record low after it flagged a significant statutory loss this financial year.”

Small Business

Angry brides demand refunds after venue suddenly closes

24 June 2018

Yahoo 7 reports that “dozens of angry brides are demanding refunds after a popular Melbourne wedding reception centre suddenly closed its doors. Frantic couples are scrambling to find new venues in the wake of The Willows Reception Centre shutting up shop after financial difficulties.”

Brisbane towing firm 'liquidated', staff told via text message jobs terminated

24 June 2018

ABC News reports that “Brisbane tow truck company owner Dominic Holland has told his staff they are out of work because he is placing the impoundment arm of the business into liquidation.”

Company selling “Australia’s cheapest battery” is in liquidation

22 June 2018

One Step Off the Grid reports that “a small Victorian energy storage business that had been gathering attention in the market for claiming “the most affordable battery in Australia” – and offering the longest warranty – has gone into liquidation.”

Former company partner still owed money

20 June 2018

Chinchilla News reports that “Chinchilla resident Selina Erb, a former partner of Erb Brothers Transport, has described the company's liquidation as "disappointing”.”

New Chameleon offering 10% discount

14 June 2018

ProPrint reports that “new Queensland print company Chameleon Group Australia is offering a ten per cent discount on print bought before the end of the month, a move causing consternation among other printers.”

Picton owes $9m, battle for survival

6 June 2018

ProPrint reports that “Perth printer Picton Press has a total debt around $9m, with the ATO placing an application for a winding up order, hearing to be held today, while the administrator is aiming to sell or restructure the business.”

Small business needs a fair go at getting government contracts

5 June 2018

The Sydney Morning Herald reports “I frequently argue the case for a level playing field when addressing small business and family enterprise issues. A prime example of the need to give small businesses a fair go is access to government and major commercial procurement.”


Tax debt pushed liquidator into liquidation

21 June 2018

My Business reports that “a total of 15 businesses in the process of being wound up have been assigned new liquidators after their incumbent was deregistered for falling into bankruptcy himself – reportedly due to a tax debt.”

Judge says DibbsBarker, QRxPharma emails privileged

18 June 2018

Lawyerly reports that “a judge overseeing a securities class action against former directors of failed pharmaceutical company QRxPharma and its legal advisor DibbsBarker has ruled that certain documents, including numerous emails sent by the law firm, are protected by attorney-client privilege.”

Not For Profit

Union attacks FSG’s ‘lack of consultation’

26 June 2018

Echonet Daily reports that “the Services Union, which represents members working at failed NDIS provider FSG, has slammed CEO Vicky Batten’s announcement last week that the company is going into voluntary administration, ‘leaving 900 workers in Queensland and 80 in the Northern Rivers with employment uncertainty’.”

Primary Industry

Banking royal commission: ANZ's farming push bungled from the start

25 June 2018

The Australian Financial Review reports that “ANZ was spectacularly unprepared for an aggressive expansion into agribusiness lending dubbed Project Conserve that came apart with disastrous consequences and forced 162 farmers from their land, the Hayne royal commission has heard.”

Quintis gets new life as private firm, but shareholders lose out

12 June 2018

The Australian reports that “failed sandalwood grower Quintis, which last year became the first high-profile victim of short-seller researcher Glaucus and slid into administration, is closer to being resurrected as a private company after creditors voted in favour of a deed of company arrangement.”


Centrelink drives Perth man to brink of bankruptcy after amputation

22 June 2018

Nine News reports that “a Perth amputee has been driven to the brink of bankruptcy by Centrelink after dealing with nine weeks of red tape to get benefits. Rowland Spurway is unable to pay rent, buy food or cover bills and says he has borrowed $4,000 from friends and family to keep his head above water.”

Shellharbour City Council owed $149,299 in outstanding passenger fees by JetGo

10 June 2018

Illawarra Mercury reports that “Shellharbour City Council has confirmed that it is owed $149,299 in outstanding passenger fees by embattled Illawarra flight operator JetGo. JetGo Australia Holdings Pty Ltd entered into voluntary administration earlier this month.”


Shipbuilding’s valley of death claims another victim

6 June 2018

Defence Connect reports that “after 71 years of business, South Australian metal fabrication company J&H Williams has gone into voluntary liquidation, citing the naval shipbuilding industry’s ‘valley of death’ as a key reason for its demise.”


Study Group puts its feelers out for Endeavour sale

5 June 2018

The Australian reports that “tertiary education business Study Group is believed to be fielding private equity approaches for its Endeavour Learning Group, fuelling suggestions the business may soon be officially up for sale.”


Former Queensland rich-lister Tyron Brant declared bankrupt

28 June 2018

The Courier Mail reports that “Tyron and Kim Brant's WRS business – trading as BLK – was providing state-of-the-art apparel for a string of top rugby, league, AFL and soccer teams.”

Jamie Durie calls in lawyers to dispel insolvent trading claim

23 June 2018

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that “Jamie Durie has been forced to engage lawyers to dispel claims made by the administrator of his private company that the celebrity gardener may have traded his company while it was insolvent for nearly two years.”

Boris Becker’s bankruptcy case takes another strange twist with his diplomatic immunity

16 June 2018

News.com.au reports that “three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker has said he is claiming diplomatic immunity from bankruptcy proceedings in Britain as an ambassador for the Central African Republic.”

Court Orders Aussie Touring Company RCM Touring Be Liquidated Over $120K Debt

6 June 2018

Music Feed reports that “the Federal Court Of Australia has ordered touring company RCM Touring be “wound up in insolvency”, after allegedly owing over $120,000 to another touring company.”

North America


Sears' prices are going up during a liquidation sale — and it's a common practice at closing stores across the US

26 June 2018

Business Insider Australia reports that “Sears‘ prices increased – in one case by as much as nearly $US400 – during a liquidation sale for one of its closing stores. The retailer’s price for a Craftsman riding mower jumped $US390 to $US1,889 at the start of a liquidation sale in a Minnesota store last week, CBS affiliate WCCO reported. Similarly, the price of a Craftsman push mower rose $US51 to $US450, according to the report.”


Gibson teases plans to invest in ukeleles following bankruptcy

28 June 2018

The Industry Observer reports that “following a filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy last month, iconic guitar brand Gibson is already planning its return to traditional guitars, and ukeleles it seems.”