RCR Tom­lin­son col­lapse

Mas­sive so­lar farm builder’s stag­ger­ing demise leaves lives and jobs in limbo

Chinchilla News - - NEWS -

THE col­lapse of one of the na­tion’s old­est en­gi­neer­ing com­pa­nies has left Queens­land’s so­lar projects in limbo and many peo­ple an­gry.

RCR Tom­lin­son, the com­pany build­ing the Dar­ling Downs So­lar Farm for APA Group which em­ploys 3400 peo­ple, was placed in vol­un­tary ad­min­is­tra­tion last Wed­nes­day.

The col­lapse fol­lows it en­ter­ing a trad­ing halt ear­lier this month and just three months af­ter it raised $100 mil­lion in eq­uity from share­hold­ers to help pay for $57 mil­lion in write-downs on an­other two so­lar farms in Collinsville ear­lier this year.

RCR Tom­lin­son was awarded a de­sign and en­gi­neer­ing pro­cure­ment and con­struc­tion con­tract to build the 110-megawatt ca­pac­ity Dar­ling Downs So­lar Farm for APA Group in May 2017.

The com­pany’s scope of work on the Dalby pro­ject in­cluded the en­gi­neer­ing, pro­cure­ment, con­struc­tion and com­mis­sion­ing of the so­lar farm.

The con­tract for the 200ha farm was worth about $175 mil­lion.

It is un­clear if RCR’s col­lapse will lead to de­lays in the Dalby farm’s com­mis­sion­ing.

APA said “con­struc­tion of the farm is largely com­plete”, com­mis­sion­ing was un­der way and it was li­ais­ing with Pow­er­link and the Aus­tralian En­ergy Mar­ket Op­er­a­tor to progress to full gen­er­a­tion.

“The so­lar farm is gen­er­at­ing elec­tric­ity and has been do­ing so for sev­eral weeks,” a spokesper­son said.

“While there is a punch list of items to at­tend to, they are able to be man­aged in the or­di­nary course of busi­ness.”

The pro­ject is one of many listed on the com­pany’s web­site and the lat­est to be hit with union con­cerns over the fu­ture of jobs.

The Elec­tri­cal Trades Union Queens­land and NT branch ear­lier this month said it had con­cerns about jobs on the com­pany’s five Queens­land projects af­ter the trad­ing halt was an­nounced to the ASX.

It fol­lowed re­ports in May of con­cerns about back­pack­ers per­form­ing un­li­censed elec­tri­cal works on the Dar­ling Downs So­lar Farm pro­ject.

The com­pany has ap­pointed McGrathNi­col as ad­min­is­tra­tor. McGrathNi­col is un­der­tak­ing an as­sess­ment of RCR Tom­lin­son and its sub­sidiaries and is “ur­gently seek­ing fund­ing from the RCR Group’s fi­nanciers”.

“The ad­min­is­tra­tors will work closely with RCR’s em­ploy­ees, sup­pli­ers and cus­tomers to quickly sta­bilise op­er­a­tions and to de­ter­mine the ap­pro­pri­ate strat­egy for the busi­ness,” McGrathNi­col said in an ASX an­nounce­ment.

The first statu­tory meet­ing of cred­i­tors is sched­uled for De­cem­ber 3.

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