Sydney laminating company TLC Print Finishing has become collateral damage from the demise of Focus Press, struggling to find a buyer and now locked out of its facility.
Samantha Rogers, wife of TLC director David Rogers, says she has been running the business by herself for the past year and debts of $175,000 from Focus put the nail in the company's coffin.
"I was assured by David Fuller that I would get paid, but then he went into liquidation and we lost it all," she says.
[Related: More companies in distress]
Rogers says she saw the writing on the wall about five months ago and put the business up for sale.
"I wasn't getting anything out of the business and I had just had enough. I have teenagers to provide for," she says.
While there have been many interested buyers, a deal has not been made, with a promising deal falling through in June.
Rogers says as money continued to run out she ceased trading earlier this month to stop mounting losses.
"There was no point getting into more debt, it hurts everyone," she says.
Rogers says the kit is now being sold via used equipment dealers in an attempt to pay off creditors.
Nearby finishing businesses are picking up jobs from TLC clients and its staff are out looking for work or being poached by rival firms, saying they have not yet received entitlements.
Rogers says while staff wages are up to date, their entitlements are waiting on a sale of the business.
"I have always tried to look after my employees and have got one of them a job since we closed down," she says.
Since the business is not in liquidation, staff are not able to make a Fair Entitlement Guarantee claim.
Goodman Australia, landlords for the unit in Silverwater’s Slough Business Park where TLC is based, have taken possession of the factory and chained up the carpark after rent was not paid.
Rogers says the rent is about two months overdue since talks with the potential buyer fell through, as she was negotiating getting them to take over the lease.
Goodman’s website already has the property up for lease, with it due to be cleared out in the next few weeks.
The lease holding company connected to TLC, Print Employment Pty Ltd, is in administration with documents lodged with ASIC in May, while the equipment – much of which is still inside – is owned by Mamers Investment Pty Ltd.
David Rogers is also the director of Mamers, while other TLC shareholders include Samantha Rogers and her brother Darren Falla.
This is the second time TLC has crashed and burned, with its previous incarnation liquidated in 2010 with debts of $1.2m, only to pop up again almost immediately at the same site with the same equipment owned by Mamers.
Comment below to have your say on this story.
If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at [email protected]
Sign up to the Sprinter newsletter