Trade businesses, finance companies and timber suppliers register interests over eHome

Creditors of New Zealand's biggest off-site residential manufacturer are owed $17.5 million-plus and the business had been working towards building for Housing New Zealand.

McDonald Vague's Peri Finnigan, joint receiver of Auckland-headquartered eHome New Zealand - who is working with colleague Tony Maginness - described the scale of the situation at the business, which is continuing to trade with a view to it being sold.

"Creditors are owed more than $17 million and secured creditors are owed $14 million," she said.

The secured creditors include CJM eHome, ANZ Bank and a private security holder.

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Unsecured creditors are owed $3.5 million but the receivers are in the early stage of proceedings and their first report is not due until April.

"There are four projects and over 20 to 30 sites within those," Ms Finnigan said of eHome's residential building workload.

"We have 15 houses in progress but extra forward contracts for many new houses will be available to the purchaser. Those include work with Housing New Zealand."

Trade creditors owed $3.5 million include kitchen, flooring, timber, bathroom, insulation, steel and building product businesses, she said.

Vehicle finance businesses, finance companies and timber suppliers have registered their interest over eHome.

How much money can be recovered to repay secured and unsecured creditors now depends on the sale price the receivers negotiate.

After yesterday's publicity on the receivership, Ms Finnigan said buyers from Australia made their interest known but New Zealand buyers had already expressed an interest.

Asked if the money would be repaid, she said: "It will depend on the outcome of the sale."

On Monday, 42 staff were laid off as the receivers learned about the scale of issues at the Kumeu-headquartered business which Mr Maginness said ran out of capital.

Ms Finnigan said more than $6 million had been invested in high-tech European-built machinery, purpose-made for fast, accurate production of pre-built housing components.

eHome then trucked those pre-built components to building sites where houses could be erected within eight hours.

"They made a large investment in the factory and setup, so there's a lot of value to be gained in that for the purchaser. There are also a lot of ongoing contracts and further contracts that will be beneficial to the purchaser," she said.

Industry bosses expressed disappointment about eHome's failure, with Certified Builders' chief executive Grant Florence saying he had sympathy with those who had lost their jobs. More than 50 staff are continuing to work for eHome.

Those close to the business expressed anger: "They ordered all tradesmen off the site, many of whom are owed tens of thousands of dollars," said one person of eHome's work at the country's most advanced Special Housing Area at the Waimahia Inlet at Weymouth, South Auckland.

"Will these people be paid and will the project still go ahead?"

eHome fallout

• Secured creditors: claiming $14m
• Unsecured creditors: claiming $3.5m
• Receivers now trying to sell business
• 15 houses under construction
• 'Many' new housing contracts yet to start