Geoff Murphy in a file photo in front of the EmpIre - one of the many projects his company has completed.
Geoff Murphy in a file photo in front of the EmpIre - one of the many projects his company has completed. Allan Reinikka Rokamurphy

I’ll pay all genuine claims: Murphy

JM KELLY boss Geoff Murphy has assured creditors all valid debt claims will be paid in coming months.

Following the decision to liquidate JM Kelly Project Builders, documents in the company's summary of affairs prepared for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) revealed 142 unsecured creditors were owed over $2.7 million.

A creditor's meeting was held last week.

Mr Murphy this week said any creditors with genuine claims judged by the liquidators to be valid would be paid.

"I said they would all get paid," he said.

"We've taken over responsibility for them, they just have to bear with us, we're working it through and they will all get paid.

"It's going to take two to three months to work it through."

One sub-contractor listed in the ASIC documents as a creditor, who did not want to be identified, said JM Kelly Project Builders had always been slow to pay their invoices.

They said this delay had a flow-on effect for their own business, potentially putting them in financial difficulty.

They said people were prepared to wait for late payment because they didn't want to miss out on jobs in the region.

Leading up to the liquidation of the company, the source said payment had become even more delayed, but they were hopeful they would be repaid as promised.

Mr Murphy yesterday said claims of slow payment were nothing new to JM Kelly and needed to be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

"We have been accused of that for years," he said.

"What they think of as slow may not be the case. I'm not going to go into all the reasons."

Mr Murphy did agree that contractual disputes were an example of where a payment might be delayed as the various parties worked through to a resolution.

Such a dispute, where JM Kelly Projects was owed $30m for a Gold Coast project more than 10 years ago, led to the decision to liquidate the company to avoid another $3.5m legal bill to add to the $15m already spent in the courts fighting for payment.

Mr Murphy said over the past few weeks he and JM Kelly representatives had met or spoken to many of the affected subcontractors and suppliers as well as others within the industry.

"Generally they have all been very supportive and understanding of our situation," he said.

"They have also confirmed their willingness and support in working through the issues with us over the next few months and the long term future."

He reminded people to look at JM Kelly's record as a long-term employer and business in Central Queensland.

"This company has been spending $120 million a year in the Rockhampton region for 55 years.

"We employ on average 300 people direct employers plus sub-contractors."

JM Kelly Builders, established in Rockhampton in 1961, and other operations throughout the Rockhampton based JM Kelly group are continuing operations as normal following the JM Kelly Project Builders announcement with no jobs lost.

JM KELLY

The JM Kelly group operates offices in Rockhampton, Gladstone, Mackay and Brisbane.

JM Kelly is a diversified privately owned group of companies with building, manufacturing and building supply divisions.


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