Down but not out
Thursday, 9th July, 2015
By Darrin Manuel
Crippled company Bobos Engineering finally lost its fight for survival yesterday as its equipment was liquidated at auction.
The well-known business, which employed 35 people, had been under voluntary administration with Adelaide-based restructuring specialists DuncanPowell since March 23.
DuncanPowell director Nick Gyss said he had worked closely with Bobos Engineering director Nick Bobos to try and keep the business running, but the task had proven insurmountable.
Mr Gyss said at the time he took over administration duties Bobos was already facing a petition from the Supreme Court of NSW to wind the company up due to the sheer amount of money owed.
The battle to remain afloat was further complicated by a legal battle with an unnamed large company which still remains unresolved.
“We tried to hold that (petition) at bay while the director put a new plan in place and keep the business trading,” said Mr Gyss.
“Unfortunately that plan was unable to be concluded.”
On April 22 the Supreme Court demanded that the company be liquidated in order to recoup over $5m of debt.
It is estimated that around $250,000 is owed in staff entitlements, $1 million is owed to secure creditors such as banks and financiers, and a further $4 million is owed to unsecured creditors.
DuncanPowell said they hoped a significant portion of money owed would be generated during an auction held at Pinnacles Place yesterday.
The sale was conducted by national auctioneer Pickles Auctions and attracted a large crowd of locals and interstate buyers.
An extensive range of equipment went under the hammer including eight cranes, a fleet of trucks and vehicles, and general plant and equipment.
DuncanPowell director Stephen Duncan said the auction was professionally conducted, and although the final total won’t be known for several days, he estimated it could bring in up to $1.5 million.
Mr Gyss added that further assets could be liquidated in future in what will be an ongoing process.
The company’s financial situation will be further assessed and a meeting will be held with creditors within two months.
In the meantime Mr Bobos said he would continue to operate from Bobos’ Gaffney Street premises under his other venture, Boss Construction.
Six Bobos employees have been retained under Boss, and it is hoped that another 6 to 12 workers will be re-employed soon.
He said Boss was completing work for the proposed wind farm, solar plant, Perilya, and CBH Resources.
In addition, Boss purchased several major items at yesterday’s auction including a crane, truck and float, and a variety of specialised workshop equipment.
“We’ve been here a long time, it’s a sad day... but we’re still working (as Boss),” he said.
“We’ll still be doing roughly the same stuff - crane hire, heavy haulage and steel fabrication, but on a smaller scale.
“We’ll get back to where we were, it will be a bit slow, but we’ll get back up there.”
And when that time comes, Mr Bobos said he would do everything in his power to ensure all those owed money are reimbursed.
“I’m still here, I’ll still be doing business here, and when the business picks up and makes a profit we’ll be looking out of good faith to repay people any shortfall.”
Creditors may also have another avenue to recoup their money if Bobos’ ongoing legal battle is resolved.
Mr Bobos estimated that the current claim against an unnamed business is worth $6.8m, and Boss Construction will continue to finance legal costs until it’s resolved.