Picton owes $9m, battle for survival

Picton owes $9m, battle for survival
ATO seeks winding up order today, administrator battling to avoid liquidation, invites offers by June 22

Perth printer Picton Press has a total debt around $9m, with the ATO placing an application for a winding up order, hearing to be held today, while the administrator is aiming to sell or restructure the business.

While the breakdown of the debt has not been confirmed, Picton owes around $1.3m to the Australian Tax Office. It is hoping to avoid liquidation, with the administrators hoping to have finalised whether Picton will seek to be restructured or sold by the end of this week.

Jeremy Nipps, the administrator from Cor Cordis handling Picton Press says, “The company is seeking to have the wind up meeting adjourned, and expects for that adjournment to be provided.

“Putting it into liquidation is not going to achieve as good as a result. We want to explore the options, liquidation is going to shorten the process and materially impact on any returns.

“There is a breakdown of different creditors, employees and the like. So there is a breakdown of that amount. Broadly that was the amount noted in the meeting, but in terms of the specifics I do not have it in hand. That includes secured creditors debt, what was previously reported did not include employees, or other classes of creditors.

“It is correct to say that the total amount is $9m, but it is not all unsecured creditors. It includes employment entitlements, secured creditors, related party loans which were on the balance sheet.

“The $9m in the main is secured creditors debt. The key for Picton is that yes, there are a combination of creditors owed an account. We are trying to sell the business to maximise the return to each creditor.

“We are hoping to sell the business so that employees can keep their entitlements to be used in the future. A restructure would do the same thing, so they can keep operating to achieve the same result.

[Related: Picton calls in administrators]

“As the administrator, I am perusing a couple of alternatives. The options are a sale or restructure, it depends on which maximises the return to the various classes of creditors. We are in early stages yet, seeking expressions of interest for the sale/restructure by the end of this week, so June 8. So by June 22 we are asking parties to put forward an indicative offer, and then we will seek assistance in providing diligence.

“We are looking at maximising the return to creditors, if employees can maintain their jobs that is a great result.

“The focus should be on what steps are being taken to resolve everything. Unless you look in the context of what the business has done, what different debt was provided, and how it was accrued it wouldn’t make sense to comment on it in isolation.

“We have the support of our suppliers, employees are continuing to support us, honouring our employment. Customers are still using Picton, so with that we are continuing and trying to maximise the return to creditors.”

Company directors of the 27 year old outfit, which is the fourth biggest printer in WA, are Dennis Hague and Gary Kennedy, with general manager well known print identity Graham Jamieson, who is also the WA representative on the PIAA board. Jamieson offered ProPrint a ‘no comment’ when asked about the move into administration.

Picton Press has Coles, Woolworths and Dominoes Pizza among its extensive client list. Just five years ago it installed its biggest ever press, a KBA Rapida ten-colour B1 perfector.

The company, which has been running since 1991 has received many industry accolades, with it being the first printer in its state to be awarded with a Benjamin Franklin award in 1997 for best in category. It specialises in pamphlets and catalogues.

Among its equipment are the KBA Rapida 106 ten-colour B1 press and Kodak Nexpresses, along an A1 MBO B30 folder, A2 G&K folder, Wohlenburg guillotine, Polar guillotine and Hohner saddle stitcher.

In 2001, Picton mergerd with Alken Colour Media, a business running for more than 30 years in prepress, and bought Muhlings Printers in 2000.

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