Australasian telco with $5.4 million in turnover collapses

A telecommunications company turning over $5.4 million in the 2012 financial year has collapsed, as early investigations reveal a legal battle with a sub-contractor and debts owed to the Australian Taxation Office are the likely causes.

Infratel Networks was placed in administration on April 10, 2013 and administrators John Vouris and Bradley Tonks have been appointed from Lawler Partners. The first meeting of creditors will be held on Friday, April 19.

A spokesperson for Lawler Partners told SmartCompany unsecured creditors are so far owed $3.8 million and $33,000 in superannuation payments are outstanding.

“The parent entity, Infratel Networks Ltd (NZ), is the company’s largest creditor and is owed $2,961,550. The Australian Taxation Office is also a substantial creditor, being owed in excess of $485,000,” the spokesperson said.

The administrators are continuing to trade the business and it is up for sale having received “interest from a number of parties”.

At this stage all 50 employees are still working and the administrators have no plans to terminate staff, pending the outcome of the sale process.

A statement on Infratel Network’s company website says it is, “one of Australasia’s leading implementers of next generation broadband, mobile, wireless transmission infrastructure”.

The company has offices in Melbourne and Sydney.

An advertisement for the sale of the company says the business provides services in engineering design, product management, construction, maintenance and restoration of broadcast and telecommunications plant and equipment.

Telsyte director of research consulting Chris Coughlan told SmartCompany, while not able to speak about this specific company, niche telecommunication companies were under pressure from the construction of the National Broadband Network.

“The industry is going through a consolidation process driven by NBN where as an operator you need a little bit of scale. That’s affecting industries which supply to those companies, and those who provide things like transmission infrastructure,” he says.

Ovum Asia-Pacific telecommunications analyst David Kennedy said, in particular, businesses using microwave technology are likely to fall behind. He says the diminishing importance of microwave technology might have contributed to the company’s demise.

“A lot of microwave links are being replaced with fibre to support the sorts of data rates which mobile provides, so you really need fibre-to-base stations.”

Infratel lists the construction and commissioning of microwave systems as among the services it provides.

Coughlan agrees, saying telecommunications businesses using microwave technology are struggling.

“Mobile operators probably have the highest demand for transmission services, but the capacity they need on those sites is now outstripping the capabilities of microwave technology.”



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