Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Roading firm wins award - closes down

Blacktop Construction worked on the resurfacing of the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Photo / Janna Dixon
Blacktop Construction worked on the resurfacing of the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Photo / Janna Dixon

A family-owned Auckland roading company that employs around 70 people in New Zealand has gone into receivership only days after winning an award.

Blacktop Construction was started around 40 years ago and has worked on the resurfacing of the Auckland Harbour Bridge for 17 years.

It won a Roading New Zealand Excellence Award on Monday night, with others, for its involvement with that project but on Wednesday afternoon was place into receivership.

Receiver Brian Mayo-Smith from BDO New Zealand said Blacktop employed about 70 people in this country as well as some staff in Fiji.

Asked if jobs were expected to be on the line, Mr Mayo-Smith said he couldn't comment on that or what receivers had been telling the company's staff.

"We're currently assessing [Blacktop's] financial situation including the contracts being undertaken by the company," he said.

A Blacktop director and daughter of the company's founder, Petah Dransfield, said last night she hoped receivers could reach a positive outcome for staff. "We've got some very long serving staff who are very loyal and very sad that things have come to this," she said.

"We have been trying to sell down assets and look after our creditors and our staff and we're doing the best we can but that's how it is."

Asked what went wrong at the company, she 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.

"We'd been hoping for continued bank support and unfortunately we're not getting that support for a short term period to help us get through this difficult patch."

- NZ Herald

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