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  • McGrathNicol have been appointed receivers over South Australian winery Barossa Valley Estate, only weeks before the start of the annual grape harvest. The company, which produces the popular E&E Black Pepper Shiraz, will be taken to market for sale as a going concern.
  • Ferrier Hodgson have been appointed receivers over the Wettenhalls Group of trucking and logistic companies, after the company called in administrators BDO on Friday.  Wettenhalls owes GE Capital and other lenders about $20m. Ferriers has reportedly received significant interest in the Group, which employs 450 staff and has an annual turnover of $140m. 
  • PPB Advisory have been appointed administrators over Brisbane-based financier Wickham Securities, placing at risk $27m of savings invested by about 300 self-funded retirees. A creditors meeting is due to be held on February 6. The corporate regulator has taken a Federal Court action against the company’s founder, Brad Sherwin, and filed a winding up application for Sherwin’s string of associated companies. Class action lawyers Shine Lawyers are also investigating the collapse.

 Ongoing

  • Liquidators of Lehman Brothers in Australia have filed an application to appeal the findings of a recent court case, which concluded that the bank was liable for misleading investors and in breach of its fiduciary duties. The move could delay disbursements of about $200m to councils and NGOs who invested millions in the complex financial products sold by the bank. PPB Advisory is currently developing a scheme of arrangement which could settle the liquidation sooner than legal action. 
  • Administrators of the Hastie Group PPB Advisory have called for a public examination of former directors after identifying several potential breaches of directors duties. PPB has noted that there ‘are no indications that Hastie traded whilst insolvent’ but concerns remain that the company’s books and records did not present a ‘true and fair view’ of its financial condition. Law firm Slater & Gordon is reportedly investigating the viability of a class action against former directors, corporate advisers and auditors. Hastie collapsed last year after a $20m black hole was found in its accounts. Its syndicate of lenders, including ANZ, CBA and Westpac, are owed $530m, which is not expected to be fully repaid. PPB is recommending the appointment of liquidators at the end of the month.

International

  • Deloitte, the same firm called in to serve as HMV’s UK administrators, have been appointed receivers of HMV Ireland. 300 jobs are at risk.

I’ve not put any links in the above to the relevant media articles but a simple internet search should bring them up.  Post a comment if it would be helpful to add links..

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