RCR Tomlinson collapse
Massive solar farm builder’s staggering demise leaves lives and jobs in limbo
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.