Major Auckland construction company Ebert is in receivership and workers have been locked out of sites, including the 153-unit Union Green project in the city this morning, receiver PwC has confirmed.
John Fisk of PwC said a statement would be issued shortly and he, Lara Bennett and Richard Longman were the receivers.
Companies Office records are yet to show the receivership which has not been confirmed by Ebert. But PwC's business recovery team are out dealing with Ebert sites, the Herald understands.
PwC says: "Lara Bennett, John Fisk and Richard Longman from PwC were last night appointed receivers to Ebert Construction Limited as a result of a request made by the Ebert board of directors to its bank.
"Ebert's board advise that it and the company's newly appointed senior management team have been working to improve a number of poorly performing projects in the Auckland region which have adversely affected the company's financial position," PwC said.
"Last week, the board was advised of likely substantial increases in the expected costs to complete those poorly performing projects. Alongside those poorly performing contracts, the company's portfolio of projects includes several well performing contracts. Notwithstanding this, the directors formed the view that the company could no longer continue trading given the impact of the actual and anticipated losses," PwC said.
Fisk: "We are committed to doing the best we can for the staff, subcontractors and suppliers of Ebert. We will work closely with all parties involved with the contracts in progress to determine the best way forward."
Companies Office records show Nigel Boyd Foster or Karori, Kelvin Eric Hale of Khandallah and Lawrence Michael Phillips of Wanaka are Ebert Construction directors. Shareholdings are split eight ways.
Farhad Moinfar, a director of Myland Partners which is developing Union Green on Union Street, said the site where Ebert has worked was now locked down, no one could get in and all work had stopped due to the receivership.
Ebert has built huge developments including Bunnings stores and Countdown supermarkets.
Moinfar said it was too early to say what effect the receivership would have on Union Green's completion, about half-finished with six levels of a 12-level tower now up.
"We don't know much more than that the site is secured by the receiver and it's Ebert Construction Ltd. This is news to us as well. We will be wanting to get it completed," he said of Union Green.
"We've still got to examine what this means for us. It's going to mean appointing a new contractor. In terms of the project, it is due for completion at the end of this year so it's partially built."
There had been no problems with the contract, he said and deposits have been paid on about 95 per cent of apartments which sold "from the high $400,000s through to the low millions."
Ebert Construction listed some of its many projects on LinkedIn.
"Our Synlait White project in Dunsandel is shaping up nicely, with the wet process area, filling hall, DE hall, cool store and amenities all tracking well with programme.
The project is due for completion in early December," the builder said three weeks ago.
Four weeks ago, it posted: "We have been awarded the contract for the design and construction of a new milk powder plant at a greenfield site in Pokeno for Synlait Milk Limited. The plant will manufacture infant formula and includes three milk reception bays (two reception and one CIP), one oil unload bay, wet process area, silo pads, transformer pad for two transformers, drier building with integrated evaporator hall, amenities and HVAC building, dry store with ingredients, packing and palletising areas, and ELO canopy."
That Pokeno project was due to be completed in September next year.
A month ago, it said it had won a contract to build the new Remutaka fire station, "an important project for the Upper Hutt community, the facility will house four appliances and includes decontamination wash and storage areas, gymnasium, bedrooms and associated amenities, and a secure yard area with parking."
Ebert built the $95m Countdown supermarket at the new Vinegar Lane project in Ponsonby, saying in 2014 that its Liebherr 357HC-L tower crane was fully erected and visible on the Auckland skyline. Progressive Enterprises appointed Ebert to that big job.
Phones are not being answered at Ebert's Wellington or Auckland office and attempts to reach Hale for comment have been unsuccessful.
PwC has established a web site for the receivership and said that would be "updated as appropriate."