Finsbury Green to take majority of Waratah staff

Finsbury Green executive chairman Peter Orel has confirmed a majority of Waratah Group staff, including a select number of senior staff, will move across as part of his buy-out of the failed Melbourne printer that is now in voluntary administration.

Waratah Group was placed in voluntary administration yesterday after a rocky 12 months which included facing off wind-up action by the Australian Tax Office over unpaid debts earlier this year.

Orel has confirmed to Sprinter that his business Finsbury Green has purchased the client list of Waratah Group, some of its plant and equipment and will take employ a majority of staff, including some senior members.

He could not confirm whether Waratah Group directors Moody and Abbey Aboughattas or chief executive officer Brett Chalmers would join Finsbury Green.

“We are taking a majority of staff and some plant and equipment,” Orel told Sprinter.

“I am not sure (how many staff) at the moment. It’s all happened very quickly and I am still working through that.

Orel said the deal includes the purchase of Waratah Group, Waratah Brand Service and print management company, Embassy Print Solutions.

Outstanding superannuation payments for staff at Waratah Group which have also been in the spotlight this year would now fall to the appointed administrator, Shane Deane of Dye & Co in Hawthorn East, to work out.

“My understanding is the administrator is dealing with all of that. By acquiring the customers and offering employment to staff that is really all we are doing. We are not taking on debtors and creditors,” he said.

The move was announced on the Australian Securities and Investment Commission website on Wednesday with Shane Deane of Dye & Co in Hawthorn East appointed as administrator.

The voluntary administration comes less than two weeks after management sent a message to staff advising they would be seeking redundancies to reduce headcount, particularly in the offset production area due to ongoing economic conditions.

The notice published on ASIC indicates Waratah Group Pty Ltd, ACN 607 483 803, is in external administration as of November 6. It also notes the business formerly traded under Docklands Ability Group Pty Ltd.

Waratah Group chief executive officer Brett Chalmers has been contacted for comment but Sprinter had not heard back at the time of publication. Questions will now be asked about debts owed to suppliers of Waratah Group.

In a statement, Finsbury Green confirmed all Laverton and Port Melbourne staff will be relocating to Finsbury Green’s Port Melbourne site ensuring their knowledge with be retained.

“The acquisition is a very positive step forward for the customers and staff of the combined Group,” the statement said.

“Finsbury Green enjoys an excellent reputation Australia wide, with a strong service orientation that will extend to our new customers.

“Finsbury Green has been in business for over 46 years, employs 185 staff and a strong client representation in government, health, retail, creative and financial sectors.”


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