Tempo collapse laid bare
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.