Developer $30m in red after collapse
Developer National Buildplan Group collapsed owing more than $30 million to lenders, employees, tradies and suppliers, according to new documents filed with ASIC.
The first creditors' report issued by administrators BRI Ferrier also appears to contradict sworn claims by the group that all legal entitlements had been paid to employees and subcontractors on its major NSW projects before the collapse.
The family-owned company, which had seven offices and 180 staff in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia, was placed into administration in early April after a failed bid to restructure and recapitalise the NSW-based firm, according to a statement posted on its website.
ANZ Bank is owed up to $9 million as the sole secured creditor, ASIC documents show. Employees are due about $3 million, while at least $18 million is being claimed by dozens of unsecured creditors involved in National Buildplan's portfolio of construction projects.
Martin Green of BRI Ferrier has warned creditors that the company's books and records are "incomplete" but unsecured creditors were "unlikely" to receive full payment of their debts.
About $1 million is being held by the administrators but it is still unclear what assets National Buildplan held at the time of the collapse.
National Buildplan director William Wheeler declined to address the creditors' meeting on April 18. But a presentation by BRI Ferrier noted the "poor performance" of six projects resulted in the company being unprofitable.
It had 33 projects under way or due to start construction when administrators were called in, and contracts for incomplete projects have been "terminated". They include a $65 million expansion of Port Macquarie Base Hospital and redevelopment of Dubbo hospital.
Just days before the collapse, NSW Minister for Mental Health Kevin Humphries said National Buildplan had provided a statutory declaration stating all employees and subcontractors had received their full legal entitlements on the Dubbo Base Hospital and Sub-Acute Mental Health Unit projects.
A number of contractors dispute claims by the company. "We worked on the [mental health unit] project and as of today are still owed over $9000. Accounts outstanding go back as far as December," said Deborah Morton of Touch Up Painting Services.
The issue of the statutory declarations and whether the company was trading while insolvent would be investigated by the administrators, BRI Ferrier told creditors.
A spokeswoman for Health Infrastructure said there was no evidence the declarations were false at the time they were accepted.
"Penalties for intentionally making a false statutory declaration include substantial fines or imprisonment," she said.