Administrators seek to wind up Picton Press

Picton Press is again facing wind up action, this time from its own administrators.

Picton Press directors put the business into voluntary administration in May 2018 with $9m debts, including $3.5m to unsecured creditors, $1.3m in tax and $660,000 in outstanding staff entitlements including superannuation.

Cor Cordis administrator Jeremy Nipps was appointed and ended up overseeing a Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA) which the company directors Dennis Hague and Gary Kennedy devised in a bid to allow their business to continue to operate and keep up to 30 staff in work.

The DOCA was approved by a creditor vote in November 2018 and meant unsecured creditors owed under $10,000 would receive full payment and those owed more than that, including the Australian Tax Office and paper suppliers, would receive just one to two cents in the dollar.

The DOCA also included a commitment for the directors to place a $205,000 creditor payment into a trust account four weeks after the vote. A further $275,000 was due to paid into the trust account on November 28, 2019, a year after the agreement was reached.

Australian Taxation Office steps in

The first payment was made but wind up action launched by the ATO in December 2018 meant the money could not be transferred and was effectively put on hold. That federal court action has since been adjourned three times with no resolution found.

Latest twist

Marking a change in direction Nipps has lodged wind up action against Picton Press in July 2019 and is seeking to have the DOCA terminated at a creditors meeting on July 22, 2019.

An administrators report will be considered at the meeting.

Other resolutions to be voted on include winding up the business, liquidator remuneration and the approval that once the business is wound up and after ASIC has given the go ahead all company records can be destroyed.

Nipps was unable to go into exact details until after the meeting but said the delays caused by the ATO legal action had not helped matters.

“I will discuss the reasons in further detail with creditors at the meeting,” Nipps told ProPrint.

“It wasn’t expected but the process has taken a long time.

“The DOCA was to give the directors a mechanism to allow them to have a financial reset but they weren’t able to really do that properly because of the action that was being taken by the ATO. Having that in the background hasn’t really helped.”

Kennedy was contacted for this story but had not returned calls at time of publication.

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