Economy

The $1.4 million marketing stunt at The Block that could have Energy Watch creditors fuming

Engel Schmidl /

Creditors of Energy Watch are likely to be asking questions after the new chief executive of the troubled utility broker was able to pay $1.4 million for one of the properties from the TV show The Block on the weekend, even though the company went into liquidation in May.

Entrepreneur Danny Wallis, who founded the $100 million information technology provider DWS Limited and headed a consortium that bought Energy Watch in May, was the winning bidder of show contestants Mike and Andrew’s terrace.

Dressed in an Energy Watch T-shirt, Wallis made erratic bids for the property, which had a reserve of $966,000 and was finally secured for $1,400,001.01.

block_energy_watch

Danny Wallis at The Block auction.

Creditors and former employees of Energy Watch who were watching the show are likely to be outraged as the company was placed into administration in May with debts of $8.6 million – including $886,000 in employee entitlements, $1.1 million to a secured creditor and $6.5 million to unsecured creditors.

The Wallis consortium of private investors agreed to buy 100% of the business through a new company named Energy Watch International.

Energy Watch International and Energy Watch Trading were both registered with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission the week before Energy Watch’s administration was announced.

Energy Watch’s difficulties became public when founder and former chief executive Ben Polis stepped down from his role after making racist and offensive remarks on his personal Facebook page.

On Twitter last night, the marketing ploy gained plenty of feedback, including from comedian Dave Hughes, who tweeted: “Shouldn’t have to look hard to find this week’s Tool of the Week? ENERGY WATCH #theblock”.

It is unclear what the plans are for the property or whether the $1,400,0001.01 purchase was a personal purchase by Wallis or in the name of the company.

SmartCompany contacted Energy Watch and its administrators Lawler Draper Dillon but no reply was made prior to publication.

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