Grant Thornton liquidator Ahmed Bise has confirmed to ProPrint that whether Whirlwind Print was trading while insolvent will be a central part of his investigation into the companies.
Bise and colleague Andrew Hewitt were brought in when Whirlwind Print was put into liquidation on May 28, 2019 and have now released full creditor listings of what is owed and a summary of company affairs which provide estimates of assets and liabilities associated with both Whirlwind companies.
The summary of company affairs show that when Whirlwind Print raised the white flag it had a combined asset value of $4.25m but after secured creditors and other circular security interests were paid the shortfall slipped to $4.9m in the negative.
On the day the liquidators were brought in and prior to any investigations by them all staff were made redundant and referred to the federal government’s Feg scheme for their entitlements.
Bise has told ProPrint that any questions around whether Whirlwind Print Pty Ltd and Whirlwind Print NSW Pty Ltd were trading while insolvent will be investigated.
“As the company’s liquidators we have an obligation to investigate the company’s affairs within reason but one of the things we will be considering is whether the directors have breached any duties to the company,” Bise told ProPrint.
“One of those duties is the duty to not trade whilst insolvent. The way the act defines solvency broadly is the capacity to pay your debts as when they fall due and payable. You are solvent if you can do that. If you cannot pay your debts as and when they fall payable you technically may be insolvent.”
But Bise said it was too early make any conclusions.
“Solvency and whether this company was allowed to trade whilst insolvent is something that we are definitely going to look at,” Bise said.
“We haven’t formed a conclusion on it. It’s far too premature for me to say something definitive on that. We have to complete our investigation into that which we will. Ultimately if there is a claim against any party what we have then got to be able to show is that a reasonable person in the director’s position should have had reason to suspect that the company was trading whilst insolvent so it’s quite involved in determining whether or not their ultimately is a claim.
“One you need to establish that yes it was insolvent and then you have to establish that a director had reason to suspect that.”
In the week before Whirlwind officially entered liquidation it sold its printing equipment, customer list and existing lease of its Knoxfield site to rival trade printer CMYKhub with the bulk of that money used to pay the ANZ bank.
Creditor lists show the scale of the debts with Whirlwind Print Pty Ltd owing Direct Paper $1.24m, Ball and Doggett $654,396, B J Ball Papers $80,500, Spicers Australia $22,894, The Printing Hub $22,363 and Toll Transport $23,757.
Whirlwind Print NSW Pty Ltd has its own list of unsecured creditors including Direct Paper Supplies owed $99,376, Neopost Australia $55,730 and Goldcraft Embossing $22,082. It also owes Whirlwind Print Pty Ltd $112,804.
Bise and fellow Grant Thornton liquidator Andrew Hewitt are now continuing to investigate the business with the date of the first creditors still to be set.
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