Controversial Skope into administration

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Controversial signage outfit Skope and its various associated entities are in administration, just six months after it managed to transform a $2.3m debt in a closely related manufacturing arm into a favourable DOCA, leaving rivals fuming.

Website: Sign copany Skope has signage 
Unusual: sign outfit  Skope Group HQ in Sydney

The first creditors meeting is slated for next Wednesday at the Sydney offices of Cor Cordis. Alan Walker and Andre Lakomy are the administrators.

Back in August the sign industry was spewing as Clear Skies – t/a signmaking outfit Skope Group Manufacturing Services – was successfully steered into the DOCA, which saw 70 per cent of its $2.3m debt disappear from its books.

Under the terms of the DOCA, Clear Skies got three years to pay $500,000 to creditors and two years to pay $288,000 to the ATO. The $2.3m debt was now 70 per cent lighter, with the company able to produce the same products and operate from the same premises, with the same equipment and the same staff, providing the same services, but being $1.5m better off.

Skope Manufacturing was closely associated with Skope Services. Essentially Skope Services sold signage solutions, while Skope Manufacturing produced them and sold them to Skope Services on what the administrator described as “uncommercial” terms.

According to a scathing report by its administrator, in which he described the relationships as “unusual”, he revealed that Skope Manufacturing had a dummy director, with Skope Services director Ann Orren, a shadow / de facto director of Skope Manufacturing – she signed the cheques, dealt with the accountants, and signed the leases.

Her partner Charles Orren was not officially listed as a director, although he signed documents using that term. The official director of Clear Skies was Robert Price, but the administrator said he had been installed by Ann Orren.

Clear Skies racked up enormous debts in the last three years: It lost $116,000 in 2017, $853,000 in 2018, and $842,000 last year. However, the DOCA reduced the $2.3m owed to less than $800,000. Orren promptly bought the $1.5m-better-off Clear Skies for $100,000.

The companies now in administration include Skope Group t/a Skope Group Services, Scream Visual – which has Charles Orren as manager – Signage Skope, Sign Fix formerly t/a Focal Signs, Acksis Group and Skope Maintenance Services.

The move into administration comes just four months after Melbourne signage operator Di Sign dropped a winding up order against Skope, with Skope paying the outstanding invoice.

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