Millions owed by Macalister

BUSINESSES across the state have been affected by the fall of Macalister Constructions, with the company owing up to $18 million to the National Australia Bank and hundreds of unsecured creditors.

The list of creditors runs into eight pages, some smaller creditors owed hundreds of thousands of dollars.

However debts could be higher than preliminary investigations suggest, with a report to creditors from SV Partners obtained by the Gippsland Times suggesting there could be inaccuracies in the information it had obtained from the company.

Allegations the company had been trading while insolvent for some time are also being investigated.

The SV Partners report said initial investigations into the company had begun.

“We are in receipt of sufficient books and records of the company which has enabled us to conduct preliminary investigations into the company’s affairs, in order to provide this report to creditors,” the report said.

“We believe that the company has maintained sufficient written financial records (ie. invoices, bank statements, debtor and creditor (files) that would enable true and fair financial statements to be prepared and audited.

“Notwithstanding the above, based on our review of the company’s management accounts for the last few years, it appears that there are various inaccuracies in the information contained within same.

“As such, we are of the opinion that the company’s financial accounts do not provide accurate information on the company’s present financial situation.

“We note that significant work would be required to reconstruct/reconcile the financial accounts in question in order to understand the company’s true financial position to date.”

The report shows a large number of known unsecured creditors extending beyond Gippsland, with businesses in Melbourne, Geelong and Ballarat also affected, with one major firm owed $1.8 million.

Joint administrator Richard Cauchi of SV Partners said it was possible Macalister Constructions may have been trading while insolvent for some time, however this was subject to further investigation.

A creditors’ meeting will be held at the Century Inn in Traralgon on Monday, where it will be recommended Macalister Construction be placed into liquidation.

In the report, the director (Cal Board) provided the following reasons to SV Partners for the company’s failure:

Dispute with a major debtor which caused financial strain on the company’s cash flow;

General downturn in the economy;

An increasing liability to the deputy commissioner of taxation with respect to outstanding BAS and superannuation, guarantee charge amounts;

and insufficient margins on building projects to cover cost overruns.

Macalister Construction was placed into administration last month following many months of rumours and speculation in the community.

The company had been attempting to trade itself out of financial difficulty in recent years.

´╗┐For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.