Banksia investors may get some Christmas joy

BANKSIA Securities’ receivers said yesterday they were continuing to work towards giving investors in the failed company an initial return by Christmas.

Nick Maher, a spokesman for the receivers McGrathNicol, said it would provide a further update on the receivership process in the coming days.

“The receivers are working as hard as possible,” he said.

He declined to comment on a claim by Queensland-based corporate investigator Niall Coburn that it could take one to two years before investors got all the returns that could be available to them.

Mr Coburn, a former advisor for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), said his estimate was “just a guess” and based on the time taken to realise the assets of other failed companies with a similar amount of loans to that held by Banksia.

Banksia held more than $600 million in loans when it collapsed and many of the assets on which the loans were made were in regional areas where the market was not robust, he said.

However, reports that Banksia already had $100 million in cash assets should give investors some initial return, Mr Coburn said.

Mr Maher said the time to settle the returns to investors varied between receiverships. “It’s very hard to put a time frame on it.”

Meanwhile, Warrnambool employees of Banksia Securities were made redundant yesterday with the decision by McGrathNicol to officially close all 10 of the company’s offices on Friday.

Mr Maher said “a handful” of Warrnambool employees were among the 47 Banksia staff made redundant yesterday.

McGrathNicol said those made redundant were 28 staff at the company’s 10 branches and 19 staff at the group’s Kyabram administration centre and its head office in Melbourne.

It said the remaining 37 staff at Banksia’s Kyabram and Melbourne offices were working on debenture holder returns, including loan recovery processes and dividend payment requirements. 

McGrathNicol said it would ensure the entitlements of all employees were paid in full. 

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