Jirsch keeps presses running for Shorten

ALP-preferred printer The Roller Poster Company may be in liquidation but voters can still expect many square metres of Bill Shorten on election day.

Less than 24 hours after being appointed liquidator to a printing business in the heart of Tony Abbott’s seat of Warringah, Jirsch Sutherland’s Amanda Young found herself with a problem.

It was Saturday morning, June 18 when the power went down at the Roller Poster Company. Everything that required electricity at the company’s rented premises in Brookvale stopped. Including the roller door.

But Young, who’d been appointed via creditors voluntary liquidation (CVL) on Friday afternoon, had bigger worries than how to secure the premises while she negotiated with the landlord who’d cut the juice. Roller Poster had a $100,000 contract to deliver election signage to the Australian Labor Party (ALP) before the Federal election on July 2. Every hour of downtime increased the chance orders would be late. Imagine all the voters disappointed they didn’t see as many posters of Bill Shorten’s grinning mug as they might have.

So a Jirsch staffer was dispatched to the Sands Hotel in Narrabeen to meet landlord John Hindman. He demanded for three months rent, three months bond and make good. His main concern was the company’s ageing printing presses. The Fairfax press reported that he was concerned that moving them could cost him as much as $100,000 if the liquidator failed to find a buyer.

Eventually Hindman agreed to restore the power in exchange for an immediate payment of $5000 to cover two week’s rent, $1500 for electricity, which is in the name of a Hindman related entity, and an undertaking from the liquidator to remove the presses once Roller Posters’ viable work in progress (WIP) is completed.

Young told SiN her valuer Pickles reckoned the presses could be moved for $20,000 and even at that price she could hope to realise some value. She also said she’ll be seeking about $190,000 from debtors, none older than 60 days, and about $140,000 in WIP including the ALP job which she’ll want paid promptly given Roller Poster’s employees are owed $143,000 in outstanding superannuation.

With the power restored and the ALP contract elevated to priority status after what Young described as a “commerciality assessment”, production and packaging of the election posters is apparently back on track.

Orders for West Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and the ACT and NSW have already been shipped. (Apparently the ALP sources its posters from a different printer in Victoria.) So as long as the ALP isn’t tardy with a cheque, Young will be spared having to apply to the Department of Employment for funds from the Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) to cover employee entitlements.  “The Labor party know’s we’re going to complete the order and they’re going to pay for that,” Young said.

About the Author

Peter Gosnell
Insolvency News Online illuminates the practice of insolvency Australia-wide, highlighting the triumphs and travails of the nation’s registered practitioners and the accounting and legal professionals who work with them. INO is produced by Peter Gosnell, former business editor and senior business reporter at The Daily Telegraph newspaper. During a decade-long career, your correspondent reported on such notable corporate collapses as HIH, One.Tel, Westpoint and Fincorp as well as some of the nation's highest profile bankruptcies and the investigations and prosecutions arising from Australia's most notorious instances of white-collar crime.

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