Macalister books ‘misleading’

A preliminary audit of embattled Gippsland-based building company Macalister Constructions’ financial accounts of recent dealings with local contractors was “grossly misleading”.

According to a report documenting administrator SVPartners’ ongoing investigation into Macalister Constructions’ financial affairs, monies owed to the company’s extensive list of more than 350 creditors had blown out to $17 million, up from $12.5 million in its last report.

However, as the ongoing investigation has relied heavily on Macalisters’ own book-keeping and records, which the report stated did not “provide accurate information on the company’s present financial position”, it remained unclear how much money had actually changed hands in recent times.

“We are of the opinion that the management accounts of the company are grossly misleading with respect to the company’s true financial position,” the report stated, adding it appeared “uncertain whether sufficient funds would be realised to enable any distribution to either secured, priority and/or unsecured creditors”.

Creditors are set to meet for a second time on Monday in Traralgon, where SVPartners has recommended attendees vote for Macalister Constructions to be placed into liquidation, “in order to allow for an orderly realisation of the company’s assets and for a more extensive investigation of its affairs to be undertaken”.

Despite a book value of more than $1.2 million dollars being owed to Macalister Constructions by 38 separate debtors, a number of which are believed to be closely associated with or co-directed by Macalister Constructions director Callum Board, the report has estimated only $62,399 of this money could realistically be obtained.

Commenting on the lacklustre debtor estimation, the report noted Macalister Constructions had raised invoices for contracts which never eventuated and for works which were never completed, adding a number of debtors had made counterclaims against the company for damages and defective claims.

A number of Gippsland-based creditors, who spoke to The Express on Tuesday, indicated they were intending to vote for a liquidation.

They said while the latest report raised further questions about Macalister Constructions’ conduct, it offered no proof as to whether Macalister Constructions had been trading while insolvent.

The director of a company found to be dishonest while trading as insolvent can face criminal charges, which can lead to a fine of up to $220,000 or imprisonment for up to five years, according to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.

In another reminder of the scale of people affected by the company’s administration, the report highlighted $262,013 in unpaid employee entitlements, $110,760 consisting of unpaid superannuation contributions, which are not covered by the Federal Government/s ‘Fair Entitlements Guarantee’.

Calls by The Express to SVPartners were not returned before going to print.