Wettenhalls in voluntary administration
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MELBOURNE, Jan 25 AAP
January 25 2013, 8:26PM
Australian transport and logistics company Wettenhalls Group has been placed in voluntary administration.
The Transport Workers Union (TWU) said administrators went to the company's main regional site at Lara, southwest of Melbourne, on Friday morning.
Wayne Mader, state secretary of the union's Victorian branch, said officials had been informed on Friday afternoon that Wettenhalls had been placed in the hands of BDO Chartered Accountants.
In a statement, BDO said the directors of the companies involved in Wettenhalls had appointed Luke Targett, Rachel Burdett-Baker and Dennis Turner as voluntary administrators following the withdrawal of funding.
Ferrier Hodgson has also been appointed as receivers and managers, BDO said.
"Consequently, the assets and the control of the business are now the responsibility of the receivers and managers," BDO said on Friday.
Ferrier Hodgson partner Brendan Richards said he would assess the business over the long weekend, and expected to explore options for an urgent sale next week.
In the meantime it would be business as usual, he said in a statement.
Mr Mader said officials were told in the meeting that Wettenhalls would continue trading and that BDO would guarantee wages for any work performed by employees from Friday.
He said they would now look for a buyer for the company and would hold a meeting with staff later on Friday.
"This is early days, and it doesn't automatically mean that there's light for the future in all of this," said Mr Mader.
"If the company goes under, it's a significant loss of jobs and has a dramatic effect on workers and their families and the community."
Wettenhalls declined to comment.
Founded in 1925, the privately-owned company employs 500 people with 14 sites across the country, according to its website.
Its turnover is in excess of $130 million, according to BDO.
BDO said it would hold a meeting with creditors during the week of February 4.
By Belinda Merhab