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Casa Building Group collapses into liquidation, receivership owing $3.7m, Guzman Y Gomez sites impacted

A building company has collapsed into both liquidation and receivership just days out from Christmas owing $3.7 million to hundreds of creditors.

Queensland-based Casa Building Group Pty Ltd, which is headquartered in Brisbane and also has an office in Townsville, appointed voluntary liquidators this Tuesday.

On Friday, Andrew Quinn and Domenico Calabretta of insolvency firm Mackay Goodwin took over as receivers, representing a secured creditor.

Casa Building Group was involved in the building of four Guzman Y Gomez stores in Queensland which have now been impacted — in Maryborough, Gympie, Murrumba Downs and Enoggera.

The Mexican fast food chain put through development approvals last year with plans to open some of the stores in 2024 but an insider told news.com.au that this was unlikely.

He said he doubted that the Gympie store, slated to open next February, would be finished in time “as they have only just laid down the slab” while over at the Maryborough site, he said he understands that it could be as much as 160 days behind schedule due to building delays.

A Guzman Y Gomez spokesperson also confirmed that two other businesses, GYG builds in Murrumba Downs and Enoggera, were also caught up in the construction collapse, but insisted GYG is “not financially impacted in any way” and said they did not expect the builder’s liquidation to have a “material impact”.

“Casa Builders were contracted by various landlords or developers to build a number of buildings where GYG has secured a lease,” a GYG spokesperson told news.com.au.

“The landlords and developers are undertaking the build for these four buildings which are yet to be completed and so GYG have not taken possession as yet,” the spokesperson continued.

“All Landlords and Developers are working hard to appoint new builders to pick up the projects and there may be some delays but we don’t expect them to have material impact.

“GYG is still committed to opening all four restaurants once they are handed over.”

The appointed liquidator of Casa Building Group, Travis Pullen of B & T Advisory, said the business owed a total of $3.7 million.

An eye-watering $1.5 million is owed to 173 unsecured creditors, according to a summary of assets and liabilities.

Of that, $300,000 is owed to the Australian Taxation Office while the most owed to a single trade creditor is $142,000 — to a demolition contractor.

There are also 45 secured creditors owed a total of $2 million. One of these secured creditors appointed the receivers days after the company’s initial collapse.

On top of that, a further $200,000 is owed to employees.

Casa Building Group is estimated to have assets worth $1.1 million.

The business ceased to trade in October this year.

A trade supplier owed money and who asked to remain anonymous said “it’s just bulls**t” to learn the company had gone bust after weeks of chasing his unpaid bill.

“There’s so many people that are owed money. Especially right before Christmas,” he said.

“We just know we’re not going to get our money.

News.com.au attempted to contact Wayne Lamont, the company’s sole director, for comment.

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ASIC insolvency statistics show 2213 building companies collapsed during the 2022-23 financial year — a 72 per cent increase on the previous 12-month period.

The alarming trend has been blamed on a “perfect storm” of factors, including fixed price contracts, escalating costs, supply chain disruptions and tradie shortages.

The previous Morrison government’s HomeBuilder grant, which was introduced in June 2020 and handed out $2.52 billion to owner-occupiers who wanted to build or substantially renovate a home, turbocharged the sector.

More than 130,000 customers signed on for the program, with many tradies agreeing to the work under fixed-price contracts that soon became unsustainable as prices began to soar.

This year alone, news.com.au has reported on dozens of major builders that have collapsed.

Australia’s 13th biggest builder, Porter Davis, also collapsed in March, placing 1700 projects and another 779 empty blocks of land in jeopardy across Victoria and Queensland, while more than 1000 unsecured creditors owed a whopping $71 million.

In one week in July, news.com.au reported on a new builder going into external administration every day.

Australia’s 13th biggest builder, Porter Davis, also collapsed earlier this year, placing 1700 projects and another 779 empty blocks of land in jeopardy across Victoria and Queensland, while more than 1000 unsecured creditors owed a whopping $71 million.

News.com.au reported on another builder going bust as recently as this Friday.

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