Heavy Haulage Australia in administration; McAleese considers legal action


Administrator blames downturn in the resources sector for HHA's woes.

Heavy Haulage Australia in administration; McAleese considers legal action
McAleese took a 50 per cent stake in HHA in November 2014.

 

Heavy Haulage Australia (HHA) has hit the wall and is in voluntary administration, 50 per cent owner McAleese and specialist accountancy Ferrier Hodgson have revealed.

The high-profile heavy haulage logistics specialist is now under the control of Ferrier Hodgson partners Brendan Richards, John Lindholm, and Tim Michael but any move there may have to contend with legal issues.

McAleese says some of the problems besetting HHA stem from an extremely difficult market, making it unlikely the firm could handle its costs let alone make a worthwhile financial return.

However, there appear to be deeper issues at play.

"McAleese Group is considering its options for legal recourse against the vendor (and associated parties) of the company’s shareholding in HHA Group, in connection with the sales process and conduct after that time," McAleese, which bought the 50 per cent stake in HHA last November, says in a statement.

McAleese expects to take a $17 million hit to its full year results relating to loans and interest and other receivables payable by HHA to it, but insists it has no other exposure.

Ferrier Hodgson says the decision to go into voluntary administration was made "in the best interests of protecting the considerable assets of the company and maximising the prospect for it to continue as a going concern".

Richards, who leads Ferrier Hodgson’s logistics practice, expressed his disappointment in seeing another high-profile Australian transport business in distress.

"This is indicative of the downturn we are seeing in the resources sector and the knock on effect it has and will continue to have on the transport industry," he says.

"Unfortunately, HHA has a very high cost base and when revenues are challenged, it is left with little room in which to manoeuvre," he says.

"We will be working hard to try and achieve a strong outcome for all of the parties involved, but this is a tough time for Australia’s transport industry and heavy haulage businesses in particular."

In the short-term, Ferrier Hodgson will continue to trade the business as normal while a buyer is sought and arrangements are made to protect the interests of the employees, customers, suppliers and creditors.

"A clear strategy and direction for the business is expected to be established within the week," it says.

In November last year, HHA managing director Jon Kelly talked about the deal giving his firm the capability to grow and to develop a "sensational logistics company".

Established in 1999, HHA specialises in heavy haulage movements for infrastructure, mining and special projects.

Its services include transportation, cranes, electrical wire, haulage consultancy and storage services, along with heavy haulage fleet leasing and specialist haulage services for the oil and gas, power, rail, refinery and infrastructure sectors.

 

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