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More Hastie jobs saved: 1200 workers obtain positions
15/06/2012 - About 1,200 of 2,700 jobs in Australia threatened by the collapse of engineering conglomerate Hastie Group have been saved. Trevor Chappell
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But the administrator of Hastie Group, PPB Advisory's Ian Carson, says creditors of the group are expected to recover little of the money owed to them.
"There's anecdotal evidence that so far in the administration in the order of 1,200 employees have managed to find alternative employment or new employment with Hastie companies," he said on Thursday.
The first creditors' meetings of the 44 companies within the Hastie Group were held around the country on Thursday.
Speaking after a meeting of some Hastie creditors in Melbourne, Carson said the jobs had been saved through talks with unions and through the sale of five Hastie businesses.
"I think that is good news that 1,200 employees have obtained employment, which still leaves 1,500 employees, but I think we're heading in the right direction," Carson told reporters.
Carson also said that Hastie employees would be granted early access to a federal government scheme that allows employees to be paid their outstanding entitlements by the federal government.
"Normally, it's accessible when the company goes into liquidation, but the federal government has accelerated that," Carson said.
Carson said Hastie's bankers were owed more than $500 million, and other creditors around $100 million.
He did not know yet how much Hastie creditors may retrieve of the money owed to them.
"But we would be surprised if the ordinary creditors received any extensive return, when you think that the banks are owed over $500 million," he said.
He said the three major businesses within the Hastie Group were under the control of receivers appointed by Hastie's bankers.
Carson said the sale of five Hastie businesses so far had realised less than $30 million, and only one or two more businesses under the control of the administrators were likely to be sold.
Carson said the next move in the process would be for the administrators to call a second meeting of creditors at which the future of the remaining companies under administration in the Hastie Group would be decided.
He said it was highly likely that most companies in the Hastie Group would go into liquidation, but that would be up to creditors to decide, based upon a recommendation from the administrator.
Hastie creditor Martin Pereira, who supplied chillers to one of the companies in the Hastie Group, D & E Air Conditioning, described the outcome as "disastrous for small creditors".
"There's going to be zero dividend," he told reporters.
He said he was owed about $41,000 by Hastie.
"The good news is that D & E has been sold to new owners, which means it trades on, and as a preferred supplier they (the new owners) will come back to us," Pereira said.
Hastie Group appointed administrators on May 28 after talks with banks and new investors to extend its loans broke down when the company discovered an employee had been falsifying accounts.
Hastie operated throughout Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland and the Middle East, describing itself as a leading provider of technical and engineering services to the building, infrastructure and resources sectors.
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