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Australian office furniture maker in administration as sector struggles

Wednesday 8 February 2012

An Australian office furniture manufacturing and installation business has been placed in administration after the company was unable to meet supplier and financial commitments.
The collapse has also been associated with the slowdown in manufacturing, which has continued to suffer as the Australian dollar remains well above parity. Several businesses, including Heinz and Toyota, have continued to slash local manufacturing jobs.
Ofquest Australia, trading as "Desking Systems", was placed into administration on January 31, with Sule Arnautovic of Jirsch Sutherland appointed as administrator.
Arnautovic told SmartCompany the business failed due to an inability to meet its bank debt, which amounts to $5 million, along with suffering under the more general slow-down in manufacturing.
The business turns over $A12 million per year, according to an advertisement calling for expressions of interest, with 19 staff, although the company's website claims it also has 75 staff operating a factory in Kurnell, New South Wales.
Offices have also been set up in South Africa and Britain. The creditors of the business, of which there are more than 200, are owed $2.2 million, with employees owed $400,000. The Australian Taxation Office is also owed $850,000.
The company maintains it is one of Australia’s leading designers and manufacturers of commercial office furniture, with showrooms in every capital city. It also claims to offer customised solutions, with furniture manufactured to order.
Arnautovic is now attempting to sell the business and explore a Deed of Company Arrangement restructure, with a number of assets for sale including manufacturing equipment and intellectual property.

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