EXCLUSIVE: Firesale saves liquidated carrier SEND Australia

By: Jason Whittaker

A frantic search for buyers has kept specialist transport and logistics operator SEND Australia on the road after the company

By Jason Whittaker

A frantic search for buyers has kept specialist transport and logistics operator SEND Australia on the road after the company collapsed last week.

Brisbane-based transporter Personalised Freight Management (PFM) has come to the rescue of the liquidated company by purchasing the bulk of the business’ assets, while SEND’s Queensland operations have been sold to Sydney-based logistics group AirRoad.

SEND, or Sensitive Electronic National Distribution, called in liquidators last week at 9pm on Thursday night.

Speaking to ATN, Nicholas Crouch from liquidators Crouch and Amirbeaggi says the company has been "saved from the depths" by the last-minute deal.

SEND specialises in the transport and warehousing of specialist electronics equipment for broadcasting, data processing, medical and other applications.

The company was an amalgamation of a number of state-based transporters aligned under the SEND banner and headquartered at Homebush in Sydney.

But while the alliance was supposed to deliver efficiencies across the group, liquidators say the merger was botched and led to the company’s demise.

Problems escalated when the Australian Tax Office (ATO) issued penalty notices to directors for tax in arrears.

Crouch says the directors were reluctant to enter a repayment plan with the ATO and make further capital advances, so they decided to wind up the company.

Crouch and his team began a "quite frantic search" to sell the assets of the business, working 14-hour days through the weekend to secure the sale today.

Drivers and staff were asked back to work this morning, resuming trading in anticipation of the deals being secured.

All drivers are expected to keep their jobs, Crouch says, but some administrative staff could be lost as back offices are merged into the new owners. There is also expected to be some consolidation in facilities.

Administration of the companies will now be handled through the PFM headquarters at Archerfield in Brisbane and AirRoad’s head office in western Sydney.

SEND had previously been in negotiations about ownership but wasn’t able to negotiate a deal. AirRoad were among the companies who had expressed interest before the liquidation.

Crouch believes key management were "not up to the job" in merging the businesses under the SEND umbrella, which resulted in them falling behind in tax obligations.

"Individually the company at a state level was a success, but when they went about consolidating them … the move was poorly effected," he says.

But he says the business operations have a "sound basis fundamentally".

Key customers of the business include Siemens and Schenker.

Total asset sales are expected to net about $1 million, which will be used to pay secure creditors led by the ATO.

PFM calls itself an Australia-wide transport operator specialising in fragile freight. It has depots in Townsville, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Western Australia and Tasmania.

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