Australia

We have a highly experienced team of liquidators and trustees who are able to bring their extensive expertise to assist in times of financial distress to achieve the best outcome for all stakeholders.

Below are a sample of the relevant client experience of our Registered Liquidators and Bankruptcy Trustees across a range of common business recovery matters.

Restructuring and Turnaround

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Restructuring

Confidential Client – Restructuring / Safe Harbour Advisor

Appointed as Safe Harbour advisors to a Confidential Client, William Buck assisted the client to navigate its way through turbulent times and continue to operate profitably.

William Buck was initially approached to provide Safe Harbour protection to the directors of the Confidential Client, who were concerned that they may be exposed to personal liability for insolvent trading given the financial difficulties the Confidential Client was experiencing and the uncertain outlook ahead.

The client’s Board of Directors had to contemplate a number of options, including the possibility that the client would need to appoint a voluntary administrator or a liquidator. Working with the Board and the CFO of the Confidential Client, William Buck evaluated the suitability of the Safe Harbour legislation, and then provided the protection to the Board that they required to have the peace of mind to proceed with the restructuring plans. The plans were developed by the Board in conjunction with William Buck and other advisors.

The successful execution of these restructuring plans meant that the Confidential Client was no longer in financial difficulty and accordingly the Directors were no longer at risk for personal liability for insolvent trading.

The successful restructure ensured that the Confidential Client could continue to operate as a going concern. This saved jobs and meant that creditors would be paid in full in the ordinary course. It also ensured that value was retained for the shareholders.

To date, William Buck has assisted several clients through the Safe Harbour process, which is a powerful but underutilised process to provide protection to directors to enable them to restructure their company and preserve value for all stakeholders. The alternative would be that directors would have to resort to placing their company in administration or liquidation.

Confidential Client – Restructuring / Safe Harbour Advisor

Appointed as Safe Harbour Advisors to the directors of this struggling retail business with an annual revenue of around $100 million. Using our expertise and industry knowledge we assisted the directors to navigate through Safe Harbour legislation to minimise the directors’ personal liability for insolvent trading.

Concurrently, the William Buck Business Advisory team worked with the company’s management on the restructure. This included assisting with preparation of budgets, cashflow forecasts and a daily 13-week cashflow model, which was used to manage and control purchasing, and accounts payable management.

In addition, the William Buck Corporate Advisory team was approached to explore a sale mandate for the company.

This interaction was a good example of how our integrated model can provide benefits that most other restructuring and insolvency firms can’t and how William Buck can act as a single point of contact to manage each part of your financial project.

Confidential Client – Restructuring / Safe Harbour Advisor

Appointed as Safe Harbour Advisors to the directors of this national not-for-profit organisation. Using our expertise and knowledge we were able to navigate the directors through the Safe Harbour legislation thereby minimising the directors’ personal liability for insolvent trading. We have continued to work with the board of directors to ensure Safe Harbour protections are in place while the medium-term restructuring and workout strategy is implemented.

Formal Appointments

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Administration

Opraxe Australia Pty Limited – Administrators

Initially appointed as Voluntary Administrators by the directors of Technomin Australia Pty Ltd, a company that serviced the telecommunications industry, we were subsequently appointed as Deed Administrators by the creditors of the company. We commenced litigation against a large U.S. based trading partner which had withheld significant commissions. As a result of successfully settling the litigation, we were able to pay the creditors of the company in full and returned the company to the directors in a solvent position. The directors subsequently approached us to undertake the solvent winding up of the company.

Valence Industries Ltd – Administrators

Initially appointed as Voluntary Administrators by the directors of Valence Industries Ltd, an ASX listed company which held Mining, Retention and Exploration Licences, and which owned graphite mining operations in South Australia, which included one of the largest coarse flake graphite deposits in the world.

A Deed of Company Arrangement was proposed and accepted which resulted in the company being restructured. This allowed for the non-priority creditors’ debts to be converted into equity. We were subsequently appointed as Deed Administrators by the creditors of the company. The deed also provided for the company to re-list on the ASX which was achieved following approval by the ASX and ASIC.

Mr Daniel Farook Ali and the ‘Daniel Ali Scheme’ – Receiver and Manager Appointed

Appointed by the Court, on the application of ASIC,  to act as Receiver and Manager of the assets of DanFX Trade Pty Ltd, and associated entities and as Receiver of the property of an individual involved in operating an unlicensed and unregistered managed investment scheme, which had raised approximately $13 million from more than 200 investors.

We took control of the available assets and undertook investigations to identify how the investors’ funds were utilised and submit a report to the Court. We were subsequently appointed as Receiver of the Daniel Ali Scheme, as liquidator of the three companies in the scheme, and as Receiver of the property of Mr Ali.

Pacific Services Group – Receiver and Manager and Agent

Appointed to Pacific Services Group, one of Australia’s leading electrical and communications providers and switchboard manufacturers, which had outstanding debts of $10 million owing to its secured creditor. We were appointed both as Receiver and Manager to the companies in the group and as agent to collect debts owed to the debtor book on behalf of the financier who owned the debtor book.

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Agent for morgagee in posession and S66G Trustee

Farnhill Holdings Pty Ltd – Agent for the Mortgagee-in-possession

Appointed by a major bank as Agent for the Mortgagee-in-Possession to realise two rural properties in Victoria which were successfully sold at auction.

Confidential client – Agent for the Mortgagee-in-possession

Appointed by a major bank as Agent for the Mortgagee in Possession over a newly built high-end residential property in Palm Beach, NSW. We obtained the certificate of occupancy, before marketing the property for sale. The property was initially passed in at auction, before we successfully negotiated the sale of the property to the highest bidder.

Behnia – S66G Trustee

Appointed by the Court as S66Gg Trustee to sell an $8 million apartment in Point Piper. After the NSW Sheriff assisted in evicting a tenant who was refusing to vacate the property, we secured possession and project managed significant restoration works before commencing a sales campaign. The property was initially passed in at auction however we negotiated and finalised the sale to the highest bidder.

Cassegrain – S66G Trustee

We were appointed by the Court as S66G Trustee following a long running family dispute subject to significant litigation. The appointment was over property comprising six lots in regional NSW (mid-north coast), which had a small farming operation and homestead. We secured vacant possession of the property before commencing a sales campaign. Initially passed in at auction, we successfully negotiated and finalised the sale of the property via private treaty.

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Liquidation

Confidential Client – Members Voluntary Liquidation

Appointed as Liquidator to two related solvent companies at general meetings of the companies to wind up their businesses and distribute excess proceeds to shareholders. By working closely with our Business Advisory team and our Tax Services team we were able to distribute $8.5 million to the companies’ shareholders in the most economical and tax effective manner, providing tax savings of over $2 million.

Confidential Client – Members Voluntary Liquidation

We were approached to take the appointment as Members Voluntary Liquidation to the family investment vehicle of a high-profile couple that were going through a contentious and acrimonious divorce, involving regular appearances before the Family Court.

Australian Vanlines Pty Ltd – Court Liquidation

Appointed Court Liquidator following an application by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for the winding up of Australian Vanlines Pty Ltd, a company in the shipping and storage industry. Through our investigations, we identified and located over 250 private owners’ shipping containers across Sydney. A first and final dividend was paid to unsecured creditors from net asset realisations and net recoveries from voidable transactions.

Fast Access Finance Pty Ltd – Court Liquidation

Appointed Court Liquidator following an application by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for the winding up of Fast Access Finance Pty Ltd, a payday lender which the Federal Court ruled had breached consumer credit laws by engaging in credit activities without holding an Australian credit licence.

Office Furniture Trade Centre Pty Ltd – Creditors Voluntary Liquidation

Appointed as Voluntary Liquidators of Office Furniture Trade Centre Pty Ltd, a furniture retailer with operations in the Gold Coast region. We successfully realised all the company’s stock, plant and equipment together with a luxury residential investment property which was owned by the company, resulting in a significant return to the secured creditor, a major bank which had elected not to appoint a Receiver and Manager and left us in control of the company. Employees were able to access the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Scheme, resulting in their entitlements being paid in full.

Rockwell Olivier (Sydney) Pty Ltd – Creditors Voluntary Liquidation

Appointed as Voluntary Liquidators to Rockwell Olivier (Sydney), a Sydney based law firm. We worked with the Law Society of NSW to ensure the client files and the trust accounts were properly managed. We negotiated the sales of the legal practice to the former partners of the firm, including the transfer of most of the staff to the new legal practices established by the former partners.

Bankruptcy and Personal Insolvency

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Bankruptcy

Confidential Client – Bankruptcy Trustee

Appointed as Bankruptcy Trustee of a deceased person. From initial investigations, a significant voidable transaction was identified involving the transfer of a number of vintage aircraft. In conjunction with the liquidator of the deceased’s company, a successful recovery of funds for the aircraft was achieved. Subsequent investigations uncovered another voidable transaction involving the transferring of monies into superannuation funds. We were successful in obtaining freezing orders against the superannuation funds and the third-party beneficiary of the funds. Significant monies were recovered resulting in a return to creditors.

Mohamad and Amal Mehajer – Bankruptcy Trustee

Appointed Bankruptcy Trustee of Mohamad and Amal Mehajer, the parents of Salim Mehajer, the former deputy mayor of the former Auburn City Council. Mohamad and Amal Mehajer were pursued by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for combined tax debts of $10 million. We undertook extensive investigations with the assistance of Australian Government authorities to enable the further pursuit of suspect transactions to a number of overseas recipients.

Forensic and Litigation Support

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Expert reports

Confidential Client – Environmental company – Expert Report

Engaged to prepare an Expert Report into a fraud perpetuated over a six-year period by a long-standing employee of a multinational environmental services company. Our report quantified the loss incurred and was used as the basis for the company’s successful claim against its insurer.

The insurer subsequently commenced civil proceedings against the employee. The NSW Police also conducted an investigation and criminal charges were laid against the former employee, with our report being used in evidence.

Confidential Client – Not-for-profit – Expert Report

Engaged by the board of a not-for-profit charity organisation to prepare an Expert Report into the misappropriation of funds, unauthorised payments to an officer, and fraud. Our report quantified the loss incurred and provided recommendations to improve the internal control environment and organisational structure. The NSW Police also conducted an investigation and criminal charges were laid with our report being used in evidence.

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Solvency reviews

Confidential Client – Construction – Solvency Review

Appointed by the directors to undertake a solvency review of a large construction company. The directors were concerned that management was having significant difficulty in accurately forecasting cash flow, which was problematic for the company’s ability to set strategic targets and improve growth, and which raised the prospect that the company may be trading whilst insolvent. Our review concluded that the company was solvent. In addition, we provided recommendations to improve the finance function to enhance the cash flow forecasting process.

Confidential Client – Software Technology – Solvency Review

Appointed by the major shareholder and directors of this Software Technology company to undertake a solvency review of the company as the directors were concerned that they may be exposed to personal liability if the company was trading whilst insolvent. Based on our report, which determined that the company was solvent at that time, the directors proceeded to trade the company while exploring a sale of the business.

Investigative Reviews

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Investigations

Confidential Client – Not-for-profit – Investigative Report

Engaged by the board of a large not-for-profit in the Catholic school system to undertake an investigation into suspected kickbacks being provided to suppliers and staff. Our Investigating Accountant’s Report also provided recommendations to improve the internal control environment (particularly concerning procurement and payables processes).

Confidential Client – Investigative Accountant

Engaged by the company’s banker to undertake an Investigating Accountant’s Report into a medium sized NSW-based supplier to the construction industry, to assist the banking syndicate to assess an offer of compromise from the private equity owners of the business.

Our Business Recovery Experience Specialists

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