New South Wales-based construction company Roberts Co has acquired five Victorian projects that have been the subject of the external administration of Probuild Construction.

The sale has been conducted by the Deloitte Turnaround & Restructuring team that was appointed Voluntary Administrators of 18 WBHO Australia Group companies on 23 February 2022.

Under the sale agreement executed by the Deloitte Administrators, Sal Algeri, Jason Tracy, Matt Donnelly and David Orr, the private owners of Roberts Co will take control of the following Melbourne projects:

  • Uno Melbourne
  • CSL (construction and fit out)
  • Elizabeth North Stage 2
  • 500 Bourke Street
  • 502 Albert Street

While terms of the transaction are confidential, they provide for continued employment for more than 150 Probuild and Monaco Hickey head office and site employees, while also honouring the head building contract, sub- contractor agreements and other project costs that were in place when Probuild and Monaco Hickey entered Administration.

Four of the projects have already seen construction restart since the appointment of the Administrators and during negotiation of the sale agreement. The other is expected to recommence shortly.

Voluntary Administrator and Deloitte Turnaround & Restructuring Partner, Jason Tracy, said, “In challenging circumstances, Roberts Co has worked quickly but diligently, to deliver a sale agreement that represents the best possible outcome for all parties concerned. 

“It’s the proverbial win-win outcome that has been a key focus since our appointment as Administrators only five weeks ago.”

While numbers are to be finalised and reported to creditors at a later date, the agreement with Roberts Co saves over a $100 million of potential creditor claims, and also avoids substantial liquidated damages risks from ongoing project delays.

Over 150 people will keep their jobs, with their accumulated entitlements preserved and potential redundancy costs avoided. More than 150 sub-contractors and consultants will be paid valid arrears and be able to get their people and equipment back to work.

“We congratulate Roberts Co as the new owner of these assets, and thank the Probuild and Monaco Hickey leadership team and employees, unions, clients, subcontractors and the Victorian Building Authority for working together to get projects back up and running and in the hands of a well-resourced and respected construction company,” Mr Tracy said.

Roberts Co CEO, Alison Mirams, said, “We launched Roberts Co five years ago in New South Wales with a mission to build a better way and we are excited to carry this through into Victoria. 

“During this acquisition we have worked with the clients to ensure all subcontractor retentions and bank guarantees are reinstated to ensure the ongoing viability of the subcontractors.”

Voluntary Administrator and Deloitte Turnaround & Restructuring National Leader, Sal Algeri, said, “We’re incredibly proud of this achievement, particularly in terms of the complexity of the businesses, everything that is at stake, and the speed in which it has been achieved.

“We still have a lot of work to do to maximise value and productive outcomes in the interests of creditors wherever possible, and look to minimise the Group’s exposure to contingent liabilities.”

The agreement with Roberts Co comes after creditors recently endorsed a separate sale agreement with Perth- based SRG Group, which has acquired WBHOA’s West Australian WBHOI Infrastructure Pty Ltd business, and which has also been under the same Voluntary Administration.

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