29 May 2012

Hastie's businesses likely to be sold, says receiver

7:57 am on 29 May 2012

The receiver for the New Zealand arm of collapsed engineering company Hastie Holdings says the businesses are likely to be sold along with the Australian operation.

As many as 2000 jobs in Australia could be axed and the future for New Zealand employees is uncertain after the Hastie Group in Melbourne was placed into administration.

Hastie is Australia's biggest provider of airconditioning and refrigeration in hospitals. In New Zealand its clients and projects include universities, hotels and commercial buildings.

Andrew Grenfell, a partner at receiver McGrath Nicol, says the New Zealand holding company is in receivership, but the three operating companies, Aquaheat Industries, Hastie New Zealand and Hastie Services are solvent.

Mr Grenfell says the New Zealand subsidiaries may be included in any potential sale, but at this point they are operating as normal.

Mr Grenfell says it is too soon to say whether there are any interested buyers.

The collapse of the company, which employs more than 7,000 worldwide, has been caused by a $A20 million accounting irregularity.

It is understood Australia's big four banks are exposed to about $A250 million of the company's debt, which they could ultimately be forced to write down.