NBN, Vodafone contractor Daly International goes under owing millions

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NBN, Vodafone contractor Daly International goes under owing millions

Daly International, an infrastructure contractor that worked on the National Broadband Network, has called in administrators under the weight of millions in debt to unsecured creditors and employees.

The infrastructure delivery company, which has offices in Australia and the UK, appointed Peter Dinoris of Artemis Insolvency on 13 April after more than 25 years in business, predominantly delivering projects for mobile carriers, including Vodafone and Optus.

The administrator terminated all 80 of Daly's staff upon its appointment, as well as vacating all business premises, which included offices in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

Minutes from the first meeting of creditors did not reveal the cause of the collapse nor the full extent of Daly's debt, however, the administrator has so far received proof of $5.1 million owed to unsecured creditors. Priority employee entitlements total $2.1 million, including superannuation, wages and annual leave.

Secured creditors include ANZ Bank and cashflow finance provider Hermes Capital.

The administrator, Peter Dinoris, told CRN that he was yet to receive proof of debts from all creditors.

Daly International has $250,000 cash in the bank and a debtor book worth $2.1 million – still a significant shortfall given the size of its debts.

Creditors include a host of IT and telecommunication companies, including Huawei, which had an agreement with Daly that "involves a number of sensitive matters".

Other vendors covered in the report include fibre optic provider AFC Group and wireless supplier RF Industries.

Creditors from several infrastructure service providers were appointed to the committee of inspection, including Diversified Services, Advanced Network Services, Datatel Electrical & Communications, Goldstar Electrical and Goodwin Midson.

The administrator, Peter Dinoris, said he was looking into the sale of shares in wholly owned subsidiary Woolacott Consulting Engineers to another company, Daly Capital, on 7 April, a week before his appointment.

"Investigations are continuing into the affairs of the company, which include the sale of the shares in Woolacotts to determine if the sale represented an uncommercial transaction," he told CRN.

In a separate document, Dinoris revealed that he had been contacted in March through business turnaround consultant Vantage Performance to help the director, Peter John Daly, submit a proposed Deed of Company Arrangement.

A DOCA is a formal agreement under which a company can continue trading while in administration to maximise the return to creditors, rather than be liquidated.

The future of the company – with liquidation one option alongside the proposed DOCA – will be decided by creditors at their next meeting, where creditors will discuss the administrator's "major report" into Daly's business, property, affairs and financial services.

Major projects

Daly's portfolio included a $27.7 million project with NBN Co to deliver fibre to multi-dwelling units throughout Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Western Australia. Daly also designed an NBN passive fibre network in Sydney and Melbourne, as well as site acquisition, town planning and design for Ericsson's fixed wireless component of the NBN

In 2012, the company provided design and construction services for the eJV joint venture between Vodafone Hutchison Australia and Optus; it has also carried out more than 2,000 work instructions for the Optus network.

According to Daly International's website, the company spans Australia and the UK and at one point had more than 300 people.

Its services included project delivery, engineering, design, property, town planning, construction and project management.

Daly International UK generated £36.3 million (A$63.1 million) in the 12 months to 30 June 2016 and turned a net profit of £1.4 million, according to its most recent filing with the UK Companies House.

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