Three more company collapses show recovery remains patchy

The patchy nature of Australia’s economic recovery has been highlighted again with administrators putting three very different failed companies on the sale block.

Insolvency firm Ferrier Hodgson today announced the sale of fabric wholesaler Quick Response Fabrics, was placed into the hands of administrators on November 18. The Melbourne-based company, which has annual revenue of $4 million, is one of the biggest suppliers of fabrics to the Australia clothing sector, and is more than 10 years old.

Over in South Australia, McGrath Nicol is trying to sell one of Australia’s largest oyster producers, AQA Oysters. The company, which owns five oyster farms in South Australia and Tasmania, was placed in the hands of receivers on October 28. AQA is Australia’s largest producer of the sought after Pacific oyster.

In Sydney, insolvency firm PPB has placed health products manufacturer Painaway Australia up for sale, after it was placed into liquidation on November 11. The company, which makes a variety of creams and sprays for the relief of arthritis pain, is based in the regional hub of Wyong. However, it appears a number of mentions of television current affairs shows such as Today Tonight and A Current Affair were not enough to keep the business alive.

The collapses come as official insolvency figures suggest the spate of insolvencies seen typically at the tail end of a downturn was almost over.

Figures from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission show 766 companies became insolvent during September, the lowest mark in five months.

However, insolvency experts have warned that the Australian Taxation Office’s use of generous payment arrangements that helped many struggling firms get through the GFC is coming to an end, and the ATO is now chasing debts more aggressively.

In addition, improved economic conditions in Australia have given banks the confidence to call receivers in to struggling businesses, as they are more comfortable they can find new buyers for the businesses.

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