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RIP Mannway: No buyer, so ‘end of the road’

UPDATED: Receivers unable to secure buyer for bankrupt transport giant; hundreds out of work

By Michael House and Jason Whittaker | December 9, 2009

Bankrupt transport giant Mannway will close its doors after receivers were unable to secure a buyer for the national operator.

About 300 staff will be out of work and hundreds of vehicles grounded next week.

Brendan Richards, a partner at receivership firm Ferrier Hodgson, tells ATN negotiations with a number of transport operators interested in purchasing the company proved fruitless.

He says the company, founded by Bill Mann in 1979 and now owned and operated by former Linfox executive Stuart Brown, has now reached “the end of the road”.

“The regrettable reality is that the efforts to sell Mannway have not resulted in a sale,” he says.

“We had a number clients in the negotiations, but for a range of reasons we weren’t able to get that [various issues] out of the way.

“Mannway will close and we will work with our customers on the 18th of December being the final day.”

Richards says measures will now be taken with Mannway’s customers to have their contracts moved to other carriers.

He says at this stage he is unable to reveal which companies will take over the contracts, but says customers have “contingency plans” in place.

Steel manufacturers OneSteel and Bluescope previously told ATN they would stick with the troubled carrier in the hope a new buyer could be found. These contracts will now go back onto the market, with companies like K&S set to benefit.

K&S is already strong in the steel market and last week announced an extension of its contract with OneSteel along with additional work out of sites in Brisbane, Newcastle and Melbourne.

K&S Managing Director Legh Winser tells ATN this does not include any of Mannway’s contracts and it is too early to talk about the allocation of its work.

Receivers hope that as many of the company’s 300 employees as possible can be placed with the carriers who will take on the contracts.

What does Mannway’s failure to secure a new buyer say about the state of the transport market? Do you know where its contracts and employees are going? Leave your feedback below, or pass on your off-the-record tips via e-mail or on (07) 3166 2316.

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