Major Ostwald Bros creditor abstains from voting at meeting

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. File

UPDATE: Mum and dad business owners affected by the financial fallout of Ostwald Brothers will have a chance to control who will handle the reimbursement of millions of dollars in unpaid work.

Subcontractors to Ostwald's various contracts in Queensland and NSW will be able to vote on a possible new liquidator after the main secured creditor ANZ stated it would abstain from voting on all resolutions at the creditor's meeting at the Empire Theatre tomorrow from 2pm.

In a leaked letter, the bank cited its decision was the "result of the disputes with various creditors and the administrator (Price Waterhouse Coopers) as to the way forward".

It recognised there "may be risks and challenges in transferring responsibilities to replacement administrator/liquidator".

In a statement, the creditors committee said it "greatly appreciate the support of ANZ and that they have done the right thing to ensure the voices of the unsecured creditors are heard".

The committee remained hopeful that the other large creditor, ATO would follow suit.

"(We) hope that the ATO will do the same. Many unsecured creditors are in full support of appointing a new liquidator," the committee said.

PwC confirmed it was aware of a push to kick it off the case.

EARLIER: The administrators for struggling civil construction firm Ostwald Bros has confirmed it is aware of a push from creditors to remove them from the process.

Two members of the creditors committee, which is made up of 10 different entities, told The Chronicle they were organising a vote with the hundreds of creditors of Ostwald Bros to kick administrators Price Waterhouse Coopers from the case.

The pair, who cannot be named due to signing confidentiality agreements, said they were preparing a vote ahead of the creditors meeting on Thursday in Toowoomba.

A spokeswoman for PwC confirmed that discontent was being felt by creditors, but said the best outcome was to allow the administrators to finish the process.

"This is a complex Administration with over 1,000 stakeholders many with competing needs," she said.

"In this environment we are confident that the administration has been conducted efficiently and fairly.

"We respect the right of creditors to look at an alternative liquidator, however, in our view such an appointment would not serve the best interests of creditors as a whole."

PwC's Derrick Vickers and Sam Marsden handed down their report to creditors last week, recommending that the main entity of the Dalby based company should be liquidated.

While administrators received 39 confidential expressions of interest from other companies interested in restructuring the company, purchasing it, or parts of the company, only 23 were willing to sign confidentiality agreements to gain access to Ostwald Bros' financials.

In the end, no company was interested in purchasing the business as a whole, nor have there been any deeds of company arrangement received by the administrators.

If creditors vote that the company be liquidated, it would put more than 200 employees out of work.

Ostwald Bros went into administration in late August, with 260 staff were made redundant just days later.

The first creditors meeting was held in September in Toowoomba, where it was revealed that laid off staff were owed $4 million in outstanding pay and entitlements.

Topics:  ostwald bros pricewaterhouse coopers toowoomba

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