Print broker takes $200,000 hit as magazine publisher enters liquidation

Australian Media Group (AMG) was liquidated on 23 January with debts of more than $450,000. Wayne Benton from Sellers Muldoon Benton was appointed liquidator.

Benton told ProPrint that it was too early to discuss the scale of AMG's debts or possible returns to creditors, but he was almost certain creditors would take a haircut.

Creditors' claims have so far reached $459,000, with about $100,000 being for staff, who are preferred creditors. DAI, an unsecured creditor, is said to be owed $198,000.

DAI handled the production of AMG's four magazines: Security Solutions, Australian Business Solutions, Education Technology Solutions and Active Education.

Mike Roberts, chief executive of the print management company, said AMG could have better handled its difficulties, which he said became evident in mid-2012.

However, AMG editor-in-chief John Bigelow told ProPrint: "We didn't realise we were in trouble until three days before the company went into liquidation.

"We had a look at some of the sales figures from the Christmas period to the beginning of the year, and realised sales on a couple of the magazines were down, and were concerned that if that trend continued we would find ourselves in a position where we couldn’t meet our obligations."

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Bigelow said he had since purchased AMG's four magazines following an independent sales process by the liquidator. He said he planned to continue two of them and re-employ four of AMG's 18 staff.

Bigelow apologised to creditors for the collapse – as did his business partner, Mark Hawkins, at a creditors meeting on 8 February.

"It is no secret that the printing, publishing and media industries are all experiencing extraordinary hardship through having to deal with the combined impacts of the digital technology revolution and the recent global economic downturn," Hawkins said at the meeting.

"We made the decision to place the company into liquidation because we could not come up with a satisfactory plan to negate the worrying downward advertising trend that seemed to be continuing…

"The company has been the focus of my life and John's life for the past 14 years and so this is obviously devastating to us not only from a financial perspective, where we have both personally paid an enormous financial price and lost everything we have worked for, but also from a personal point of view.

"Our life's work – all that we have been building for the vast majority of our working lives – is now gone."

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