Hamish Fletcher

Hamish Fletcher is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

Nothing left for trade creditors of Blacktop

Receivers whittle down roading company's debt but some will miss out.

Photo / file
Photo / file

Trade creditors owed $11.2 million from a collapsed Auckland roading company are not going to see any of their money back, according to the latest receivers' report.

Blacktop Construction, a 40-year-old family-owned roading business which worked on the resurfacing of the Auckland Harbour Bridge for 17 years, went into receivership in September last year.

The company had won a Roading New Zealand excellence award just two days earlier.

Two firms related to Blacktop - Asphalt Products and Delta Corporation - formed part of the roading company's wider group and are also in receivership.

The group's first receivers' reports showed debts of $34 million, including $12.5 million owed to Westpac either directly or through cross-guarantees.

Blacktop's latest report, released yesterday, said the bank's debt has been reduced to $4.45 million.

As well as $4.45 million owing to the bank, more than $7.5 million is owed to shareholders of the company, who are unsecured creditors. Blacktop employees were claiming $920,000 and the receivers said yesterday that they expect to make a part payment to these creditors within the coming six months.

The group also owes $11.2 million to unsecured trade creditors.

"This figure includes significant amounts owing in Fiji and Papua New Guinea ... due to the expected shortfall and preferential creditors there will be no funds available from the receivership assets for unsecured creditors," the receivers said.

The vast bulk of Blacktop's fixed assets have already been sold.

During the receivers' reporting period - between September and March - an asphalt plant in Wiri was sold off.

There is still some property remaining to be sold by receivers - including overseas assets in Fiji and Paua New Guinea.

When Blacktop went under last September, director and daughter of the company's founder, Petah Dransfield, said there was a "systemic problem" in the industry.

"In our roading industry, people are bidding very low tenders. For several years we've been basically doing New Zealand roading contracts for very low prices and debtors have been paying late and the outcome of that is we're sustaining losses and running out of cash," she said at the time.

- NZ Herald

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