Oceania

Woosh Wireless' creditors, thought to be owed almost $13 million, have voted to put the troubled internet provider into liquidation, The New Zealand Herald reported. The business was founded in 1999 and has burned through more than $100 million since that time. Grappling with the challenge of its ageing technology, the company had been winding down some of its operations. It sold about 10,000 of its customers to Slingshot last year and still had about 2000 on its books. After trading unprofitably, two Woosh companies were put into voluntary administration in May.
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Australia could lose its rare triple-A credit rating after a tight general election raised questions about the next government’s ability to curb spending and bring down debt, The Wall Street Journal reported. The election remains too close to call, but the prospect of a lengthy period of political instability—such as a hung parliament in the 150-seat House of Representatives, where governments are formed—complicates Australia’s challenge in revving up an economy hit by the end of a decadelong mining boom.
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Liquidators of Queensland Nickel have been forced to seek fresh court summonses to grill Clive Palmer and his associates after the outgoing federal MP hit them with a compensation claim blaming them for the demise of the business, The Guardian reported. Lawyers for FTI Consulting were due to question Palmer’s nephew and Queensland Nickel managing director Clive Mensink in the federal court on Tuesday but failed to serve him in person before he went on holiday to Hong Kong.
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The South Australian government said on Thursday it would provide A$50 million ($37 million) in funding to help keep Arrium Ltd's loss-making Whyalla steelworks open under a new owner, Reuters reported. State Labor premier Jay Weatherill has also pressed Australia's two major parties to commit to contribute A$100 million from the federal government to help keep Whyalla open. "The Arrium operations at Whyalla are critical to both South Australia and the nation as a whole - it is essential that we retain our sovereign steel-making capability," Weatherill said in a statement.
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In good news for insolvency firms but not much else, insolvencies are rising and the number of retailers appointing external administrators is also up, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. Electronics chain Dick Smith, home furnishings company Laura Ashley Australia and clothing retailer Man To Man are among retailers to have gone under recently. John Winter, chief executive of the industry body Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association, said after a quiet collapse of years, insolvency firms are now hiring staff as the end of the resources boom starts to bite.
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Troubled Australian steel group Arrium Ltd, which collapsed last month after creditors rejected a private equity bailout, will hire a global investment bank to advise on the sale of its profitable Moly-Cop mining supplies unit, the firm's administrator said on Monday. Moly-Cop, which makes steel balls to grind ore, among other items, operates mostly in the United States and Latin America, and had been excluded until now from Arrium's restructuring after a private equity sale collapsed last year.
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Businessman and retiring federal MP Clive Palmer will sue the administrators of his beleaguered Queensland Nickel refinery in Townsville for $1.2 billion, ABC News reported. Mr Palmer said he would sue FTI Consulting in the coming weeks for allegedly lying in a report to creditors and illegally diverted money from his companies. Queensland Nickel appointed FTI Consulting as administrators in January to oversee the refinery after it went into voluntary administration. The company went into liquidation last month owing creditors more than $150 million.
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Retailer Super Retail Group will book restructuring costs and write-downs of $43 million this year as its revamps the loss-making Ray's Outdoors chain and fixes an online sporting goods business, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. The one-off costs, which include $28.5 million in cash costs and $14.5 million in non-cash charges and writedowns, will dent Super Retail Group's bottom line profits in 2016. Analysts are currently expecting the group to report a net profit before one-off costs of $109 million.
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Debt-laden Australian steel maker Arrium Ltd will get a new administrator after the company's major lenders and workers union filed an application in a federal court seeking to have Grant Thornton replaced, Reuters reported. The application seeks to appoint KordaMentha as replacement voluntary administrators of Arrium and 93 of its Australian subsidiaries. Grant Thornton said in a statement that it supported the application. The decision comes a week ahead of the first creditors' meeting. Arrium went into administration last week with debts exceeding A$2.8 billion ($2.14 billion).
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Australia’s government has been dealt a political blow ahead of a knife-edge election, with thousands of jobs plunged into doubt after the country’s second-biggest steelmaker went into administration, the Financial Times reported. The troubles at Arrium have helped push the ruling Liberal-National coalition behind the opposition Labor party in the polls for the first time since Malcolm Turnbull became prime minister in September.
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