Sublime Constructions liquidation leaves 200 out of pocket

Sublime Constructions liquidation leaves 200 out of pocket

The liquidator for a failed Canberra building company believes collapses in the industry are likely to increase as the impact from Tuesday's budget begins to be felt.

The comments from Vincents Canberra practice leader Tony Lane came as more than 200 creditors of Sublime Constructions & Development wait on advice as to whether they will ever be repaid their debts, estimated to be at least $2.5 million.

The Australian Taxation Office is understood to be the largest single creditor, owed nearly $250,000.

Mr Lane said he expected the Mitchell-based business's failure to be the "thin end of what’s going to be a fairly large wedge".

"From my experience, I don’t see this as being an isolated blip. I see this as being a turn in the business cycle which is going to have some longevity unfortunately," he said.

"The stone seems to have been thrown into the pond, and how far and how deep those ripples radiate we’re yet to fully see."


There have been a number of larger debts owed by dissolved Canberra building companies in the past year, but Mr Lane said the high number of Sublime creditors created wider stress on the local industry.

"For a company with the turnover of this company, and the length of time it had been established, 200 is probably more towards the upper end of the number of creditors we might otherwise expect to see," he said.

"I wouldn’t say it is unusual, but it's certainly beyond the average."

Vincents has given no indication what, if any, money will be returned to creditors, but the total debt owed could still expand.

Homeowner James Liddell said he hoped his claim for more than $100,000 - not yet included in the overall Sublime debt figure - would be accepted by the liquidator, but the number of creditors was a concern.

"It's not surprising, because we were monitoring the situation. Worrying, yes. If there’s only 50 people you could potentially get 50 cents in the dollar, if there’s 200 it's going to be harder to get that back," Mr Liddell said.

Mr Lane said investigations were progressing well, with a liquidators' report to be given to creditors in the new financial year.

Sublime was set up in 2010, and owners have denied doing anything wrong, saying home buyers had ripped the company off by not paying for work.

As The Canberra Times reported in March, companies in the construction sector made up 22 per cent of all collapsed ACT businesses across the past two years, with combined debts of $80 million at the time they became insolvent.

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