Long list of debt

AN eight-page creditors list has revealed the shocking extent of debt owed to mostly Gippsland-based businesses by embattled Macalister Constructions.

SVPartners issued creditors a report, obtained by The Express on Friday, showing almost 350 businesses or individuals were collectively owed more than $12.5 million by the Sale-based company.

SVPartners, appointed as administrators for Macalister Constructions, formerly trading as Macalister Homes, on 11 January, will hold the first creditors meeting at the Medina Grand Hotel in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Aside from the $5.1 million owed to the National Australia Bank and $800,000 to the Australian Taxation Office, some of the larger creditors included various arms of Dahlsens, owed a total of about $1.5 million, and numerous other Traralgon, Morwell and Sale businesses owed between $100,000 and up to $360,000.

Creditors are spread far and wide, from across Gippsland through to Ballarat, Geelong and surrounds.

The Latrobe Valley has fared badly, with about $3 million owed collectively across a broad range of suppliers and traders.

One creditor who spoke with The Express on Friday said he was aware of others who were not named on the list but should have been.

He said he believed the NAB was likely a secured creditor and, as such, if there was any monies to be secured “would take whatever there is”, meaning “there is no hope for the others”.

The creditor, who did not wish to be named, said he expected little to come from next Wednesday’s meeting but hoped, once a committee had been appointed by SVPartners, follow-up meetings might reveal “whether (Macalister) owns any land or assets”.

Another small local plasterer, whose business is owed almost $160,000, told The Express he would “be surprised if we get a cent”.

“This is a really bad thing that has been done… we are just a couple of mates trying to run a business,” he said.

While he said his business operated frugally and expected to survive, the creditor said “I know a few guys who will go bankrupt… and I want to see (Macalister) go down”.

Another well-established Morwell business owner, owed close to $250,000, did not want his business identified but told The Express “it is disappointing it has got to this stage, and I can only reiterate what others have said… we just have to manage this as best we can, and it’s not easy in this climate”.

According to the creditors list, Laser Electrical and Laser Plumbing, located in Traralgon, Morwell and Sale are also owed more than $200,000 in total.

However Laser Plumbing owner Daniel Smolenaars said his business would survive the blow.

He has called on local industry to show its support for smaller traders and suppliers, many of whom were still trying to absorb losses from the collapse of Kirway Constructions last year.

The list of casualties includes a local financial services company owed about $130,000, a Traralgon plumbing company owed almost $250,000 and a Churchill business owed more than $100,000.

A range of other Valley-based businesses, from joiners to engineers, painters, concretors and shopfitters are owed more than $20,000 each.