Housing construction giant Metricon has denied experiencing solvency issues, amid media reports that company leaders are meeting with the Victorian government and other major creditors as costs soar.
Metricon is the nation’s largest homebuilder, reportedly boasting over 6,000 new housing construction commencements in the 2020-21 financial year.
Beyond the private sector, Metricon also holds $195 million of Victorian government contracts to deliver social housing developments, as part of the state government’s multi-billion-dollar plan to boost public housing stocks and combat homelessness.
The company is a leader in a sector facing extreme price pressures, which have made fixed-price contracts untenable for builders across the country.
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Major industry players Condev and Probuild have collapsed in recent months, while smaller builders and contractors are shouldering seemingly unprecedented financial pressure.
As supply chain shortages and skyrocketing material prices put the strain on builders, The Age has reported on industry rumours that Metricon is considering new ways to address budgetary concerns.
Metricon staff will meet with representatives from the Andrews government on Thursday, the paper said.
Beyond those broad industry concerns, the company was shaken this week by the death of Metricon founder and CEO Mario Biasin, who unexpectedly died on Monday. The company understands Biasin was experiencing mental health issues.
Biasin has been remembered by housing industry leaders as a strong advocate for the construction sector, who helped guide the company since its inception in 1976.
The company’s current director and general manager of Victoria, Peter Langfelder, has since been appointed acting CEO.
“We are committed to continuing to run the Metricon business as usual during this sad time,” Langfelder said in a statement.
In comments provided to The Age, Langfelder said rumours of financial strain at Metricon have “no basis”.
“Metricon is a strong, viable business without any solvency problem,” he told the paper.
Langfelder asked for patience and consideration from customers and clients as Metricon staff grieve the loss of Biasin.
Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness Jason Clare said he met with housing industry leaders Thursday morning, discussing the cost pressures facing builders across the sector.
“One of the challenges they’ve got, which is not unique to Metricon but a lot of other Australian builders have, is a cost and cashflow crunch, happening at the moment, exacerbated by an increase in material costs for the construction of housing, as well as skill shortages,” he told ABC RN.
While acknowledging Labor’s election pitch, including free-free TAFE places if elected to boost the supply of skilled tradespeople, Clare said, “this is not something that you can click your fingers and fix.”
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