Date: May 28 2012
More than 2000 jobs will be axed after embattled engineering company Hastie collapsed under an estimated $500 million of debt.
In a major blow to the Gillard government, the majority of the job losses will come in the economically troubled states of NSW and Victoria.
Fairfax believes up to 1300 Hastie Group staff in Victoria and NSW will today be told they no longer have work.
The south-eastern states have borne the brunt of recent job losses in Australia, with Qantas last week axing 500 engineering jobs from its heavy maintenance division, the majority at Tullamarine.
News of the collapse of Hastie Group - the nation's biggest provider of airconditioning and refrigeration systems for office towers, apartment blocks and hospitals - comes on the eve of a Labor caucus meeting in Canberra at which discussion of jobs will be high on the agenda.
On Friday, Hastie Group non-executive directors Lindsay Phillips and Harry Boon quit after a $20 million ''accounting irregularity'' emerged in the books of one of the company's Queensland divisions.
That came as Hastie was in crucial negotiations with its banks over a refinancing deal.
All four of Australia's major banks form part of an international syndicate that has loaned $500 million to Hastie. ANZ is believed to have the biggest exposure, and is owed an estimated $150 million.
Over the weekend Hastie Group executives met with advisers from corporate reconstruction specialist PPB, but last-ditch attempts to revive the recapitalisation and stave off job losses failed.
Early yesterday it was decided by the board to appoint PPB as administrator and McGrathNicol the receiver of the company. Both firms will be officially appointed today.
After announcing a $150 million December-half loss, Hastie Group's ASX market value plunged to just $21 million before the company was put in a trading halt on April 13 and suspended from trading four days later. That was the result of a dispute over an alleged unfair payment of ''performance bonds'' to a builder in the Middle East.
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