Ostwald Bros' $61m debt could rise after creditors meeting

THE future of Ostwald Bros still hangs in the balance, with interested parties set to decide within weeks whether to dissolve or save the business.

Dozens of unsecured creditors met with the administrators for the struggling civil construction company in Toowoomba yesterday, as further details were revealed about its financial woes.

PriceWaterhouse Coopers' Derrick Vickers revealed some of the 536 creditors were owed millions of dollars, and that Ostwald Bros' debt was potentially higher than the $61 million figure reported previously.

He said at least 30 parties were interested in buying some or all of the company.

Derrick Vickers, Adminstrator, PWC at the creditors meeting for Ostwald Bros company. Wednesday, 6th, Sep, 2017.
Derrick Vickers, Adminstrator, PWC at the creditors meeting for Ostwald Bros company. Wednesday, 6th, Sep, 2017. Nev Madsen

"My focus so far has been whether we can keep Ostwalds trading in some form," Mr Vickers said.

"From now, we're going to start the investigation as to what's going to be possible for our creditors, which is going to depend on what people are willing to offer us (to buy it).

"What we're doing is keeping the doors open to buy time - to allow enough time to allow interested parties to undertake due diligence.

"At the end of the administration, one of three options will take place (liquidation, change of ownership, return to directors), and that will determine what happens from there."

Noel and Neil Robinson at the creditors meeting for Ostwald Bros company. Wednesday, 6th, Sep, 2017.
Noel and Neil Robinson at the creditors meeting for Ostwald Bros company. Wednesday, 6th, Sep, 2017. Nev Madsen

Several of the creditors at the All Seasons Function Centre expressed their disappointment at the situation.

"We've just got to see what happens - we didn't get too much out of (the meeting)," Chinchilla's Noel Robinson said to the media outside.

"It's just a big schemozzle, if you ask me."

NSW-based contractor Vicky Riddick, whose company worked for Ostwald Bros on the Pacific Hwy works until the site was shut down, said several of the subcontractors working under her were likely to receive nothing from the administration process.

"It's the little guys like us that are going to get squashed - we'll get nothing," she said.

"If we get nothing, there will be a lot of companies going under.

"There's contractors here that are owed $1.6 million and $500,000.

"Our company won't go into liquidation, but it's the smaller people under us as sub-contractors that will go down."

PWC will supply a report with recommendations ahead of a final creditors meeting later this month.



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