May 13, 2009 09:30pm
WORKERS made redundant by the collapse of Clyde-Apac will receive none of the $500,000 plus they are owed.
While 20 workers will be left short, the directors of the car component maker are in line to receive close to $1 million through money owed to another of their companies.
The workers say on top of the owed $500,000 in unpaid wages and entitlements, superannuation has not been paid by the company for the past three years.
EAH Air Handling, which traded as Clyde-Apac, went into administration a fortnight ago with debts of about $3 million. It manufactured car parts and accessories including jacks, wheels and castors.
The Tax Office is owed $1.3 million by the company and has asked the administrators to request the passports of the company’s directors.
Administrators for the company, Lawler Partners, say Clyde-Apac will be liquidated and the assets sold, but the chance of the workers receiving any funds was “nil”.
John Vouris, partner for Lawler Partners, said there was concern the company had been trading while insolvent – which is illegal under the Corporations Act and could result in a jail term for the directors.
Mr Vouris said he had reported to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission the possibility of insolvent trading and other offences by the directors.
The administrators’ report says they believe the company was trading while insolvent from July last year – opening the door to possible legal action by the creditors.
Administrators recommend the company be liquidated and if approved by creditors, Clyde-Apac’s assets will be sold, but the only likely beneficiary will be a company called Colt Ventilation. Colt is owed $990,000 in secured debt and is owned by the same directors as Clyde-Apac, Gerard Meeuwissen and Brian Young. Stephen Munzer, a former Clyde-Apac worker, says he is appalled the directors will be paid out first, leaving nothing for workers.
Mr Munzer is owed $35,000 from the company, including $5000 in unpaid super. “I am disgusted by it, I don’t think it is legally right or morally right,” he said.
John Mullaney, an employee of Clyde-Apac for 26 years, said he was owed 40 weeks in redundancy payments which he would not receive from the company.
“Unless someone can physically make them fulfil their obligations we are not going to see a cent,” he said.
Documents from the administrators show the directors of the company were borrowing money from Colt and other organisations to pay wages. Mr Meeuwissen did not respond to a request for comment and Mr Young could not be contacted at his registered business address.