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Confident held on future of McAleese arms

New plan emerges reportedly from Rowsthorn-linked financier


McAleese may end up being broken up but its administrators are making positive noises about its divisions, even as a new offer for the whole has reportedly been made.

Interestingly, fuel arm Cootes, part of the ‘Oil & Gas’ (O&G) division which arguably started the rot, could emerge well.

“A management led sale process was commenced for Cootes Transport prior to the appointment of the administrators,” McGrathNicol says.

“The sale process continued during the Administration period.

“A number of trade players and customers have expressed interest in the O&G business.

“Discussions with interested parties have been productive and we expect to complete transactions to allow the O&G businesses to continue as going concerns and/or be recapitalised” through a deed of company arrangement (DOCA.)

But a possibility has emerged that might head off a disintegration, with the Australian Financial Review reporting that Hong Kong financier SC Lowy, linked to former chairman Mark Rowsthorn, had presented McGrathNicol with a proposal to take over most of the firm and rename and delist it, while leaving him as CEO.

Sources close to the administrators tell ATN such an outcome, which would see heavy haulage and lifting shed, would take time and, given earlier bad blood amongst various shareholders, would be difficult but not impossible if theoffer was strong enough.

Such an offer can be expected to be raised at second meeting of creditors, which the Federal Court of Australia has allowed to held up to March 28 and which McGrathNicol  is minded to hold in December.

It has received draft DOCAs and, if returning the company to directors’ control is not agreed, any final DOCA will be compared with outcomes from a liquidation.

McGrathNicol  says the Heavy Haulage & Lifting division review found that of depots reviewed individually, those at Emerald, Newcastle, Rockhampton and Melbourne “continue to trade well … and are expected to be sold as going concerns or recapitalised through DOCAs”, if creditors approve.

The rest are being wound down.

The plant and equipment sales process is already underway.

WA Freight Group, known as Specialised Transport (ST), is also a chance to be sold or recapitalised.

Until then, “a range of initiatives have been implemented to improve the financial performance of ST and its presentation to [a number of] interested parties”.

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