MONEY IS­SUES HEARD

Company’s huge debt ex­pected to rise

Dalby Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Tom Gille­spie

THE fu­ture of Ost­wald Bros still hangs in the bal­ance, with in­ter­ested par­ties set to de­cide within weeks whether to dis­solve or save the busi­ness.

Dozens of un­se­cured cred­i­tors met with the ad­min­is­tra­tors for the strug­gling civil con­struc­tion company in Toowoomba on Wednesday, as fur­ther de­tails were re­vealed about its fi­nan­cial woes.

PriceWater­house Coop­ers’ Der­rick Vick­ers re­vealed some of the 536 cred­i­tors were owed mil­lions of dol­lars, and that Ost­wald Bros’ debt was po­ten­tially higher than the $61 mil­lion fig­ure re­ported pre­vi­ously.

He said at least 30 par­ties were in­ter­ested in buy­ing some or all of the company.

“My fo­cus so far has been whether we can keep Ost­walds trad­ing in some form,” Mr Vick­ers said.

“From now, we’re go­ing to start the in­ves­ti­ga­tion as to what’s go­ing to be pos­si­ble for our cred­i­tors, which is go­ing to de­pend on what peo­ple are will­ing to of­fer us (to buy it).

“What we’re do­ing is keep­ing the doors open to buy time - to al­low enough time to al­low in­ter­ested par­ties to un­der­take due dili­gence.”

Sev­eral of the cred­i­tors at the All Sea­sons Func­tion Cen­tre ex­pressed their dis­ap­point­ment at the sit­u­a­tion.

“We’ve just got to see what hap­pens – we didn’t get too much out of (the meeting),” Chin­chilla’s Noel Robin­son said to the me­dia out­side.

“It’s just a big schemoz­zle, if you ask me.”

NSW-based con­trac­tor Vicky Rid­dick, whose company worked for Ost­wald Bros on the Pa­cific Hwy works un­til the site was shut down, said sev­eral of the sub­con­trac­tors work­ing un­der her were likely to re­ceive noth­ing from the ad­min­is­tra­tion process.

“It’s the lit­tle guys like us that are go­ing to get squashed – we’ll get noth­ing,” she said.

“If we get noth­ing, there will be a lot of com­pa­nies go­ing un­der.

“There’s con­trac­tors here that are owed $1.6 mil­lion and $500,000.

“Our company won’t go into liq­ui­da­tion, but it’s the smaller peo­ple un­der us as sub-con­trac­tors that will go down.”

PWC will supply a re­port with rec­om­men­da­tions ahead of a fi­nal cred­i­tors

❝ From now, we’re go­ing to start the in­ves­ti­ga­tion as to what’s go­ing to be pos­si­ble for our cred­i­tors, which is go­ing to de­pend on what peo­ple are will­ing to of­fer us (to buy it). — Der­rick Vick­ers, PWC ad­min­is­tra­tor

meeting later this month.

“At the end of the ad­min­is­tra­tion, one of three op­tions will take place (liq­ui­da­tion, change of own­er­ship, re­turn to di­rec­tors), and that will de­ter­mine what hap­pens from there.”

PHOTO: NEV MADSEN

STRONG FO­CUS: PWC ad­min­is­tra­tor Der­rick Vick­ers at the cred­i­tors meeting for Ost­wald Bros company.

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