Tempo col­lapse laid bare

Travel Daily - - Front Page -

CRED­I­TORS of the col­lapsed Tempo Hol­i­days Pty Lim­ited ( TD 20 Sep) ap­pear un­likely to re­cover any of their funds, with the com­pany’s ad­min­is­tra­tor yes­ter­day high­light­ing that its main as­set is about $36 mil­lion in loans to its ul­ti­mate par­ent firm, In­dia-based Cox & Kings (C&K).

The com­pany’s bal­ance sheet in­di­cates li­a­bil­i­ties of about $45 mil­lion, but there is also a claim against C&K by In­dian fi­nancier Yes Bank, worth about $275 mil­lion, in which Tempo is ap­par­ently en­tan­gled.

Lau­rence Fitzger­ald from ac­count­ing firm Wil­liam Buck con­vened the first meet­ing of cred­i­tors, with more than 100 peo­ple pack­ing the room in Bourke Street, Mel­bourne.

At­ten­dees in­cluded al­most 50 for­mer Tempo/Ben­tours staff, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of around 30 other cred­i­tors both from Aus­tralia and across the globe, as well as a num­ber of ob­servers and in­ter­ested par­ties.

Hel­loworld CEO An­drew Burnes was joined by other se­nior in­dus­try ex­ec­u­tives in the room, in­clud­ing Ex­press Travel Group Ex­ec­u­tive GM, Ari Magoutis, Bun­nik Tours CEO and CATO Chair­man, Den­nis Bun­nik and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Flight Cen­tre Travel Group, Hur­tigruten Cruises, 50 De­grees North & more.

Fitzger­ald fielded a range of ques­tions, con­firm­ing that em­ploy­ees have not been paid their en­ti­tle­ments which are cur­rently es­ti­mated at be­ing worth about $1.2 mil­lion, while su­per­an­nu­a­tion was up to date.

He noted the ap­par­ent health of the busi­ness at its most re­cent bal­ance date of 31 Mar, in­di­cat­ing the com­pany had made a pre-tax profit of more than $4 mil­lion in 2018/19 on TTV of around $75 mil­lion ( TD 25 Sep).

Those re­sults also in­di­cated a $31 mil­lion loan to “re­lated par­ties,” a fig­ure which had blown out by an ad­di­tional es­ti­mated $5.8 mil­lion in the in­ter­ven­ing six months, Fitzger­ald said.

A num­ber of ex­plo­sive rev­e­la­tions dur­ing the meet­ing in­cluded the claimed res­ig­na­tion of its Aus­tralian Di­rec­tor about a month be­fore the col­lapse, sug­ges­tions that the pur­ported “trust ac­count” set up un­der pres­sure from AFTA was ac­tu­ally a sham, and that the com­pany’s Di­rec­tors blame the with­drawal of ATAS ac­cred­i­ta­tion for Tempo’s col­lapse - more on p2 and p4.

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