Dark Horse debts top $2m, Maverick kit in limbo

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Debts at liquidated Melbourne print business Dark Horse are in excess of $2m, with $1.15m owed to unsecured creditors, $765,000 owing on a debenture over the company's assets, and $225,000 to preferential creditors.

Steve Roberts and Sorcha Hopmans
Steve Roberts and Sorcha Hopmans

Meanwhile Maverick Print Group – the business registered by the Dark Horse owner Steve Roberts financee a month before Dark Horse was put into liquidation, and which saw almost all the Dark Horse presses and equipment transferred over – has been told not to use that equipment, which Fuji Xerox has a charge over.

The liquidator is waiting on Fuji Xerox to decide what it wants to do with the equipment, which includes offset and digital presses – whether to send it to auction or dispose of it itself.

Either way unsecured Dark Horse creditors will likely see zip for their outstanding invoices, as they will be last in line behind the employee claims and the secured creditors. The long list of unsecured creditors includes equipment suppliers, paper merchants, freight companies, and myriad small businesses.

Owner of the new Maverick company is Sorcha Hopmans, the fiancee of Roberts. She is also director of Australian Trade Printers, which operated from the same premises as Dark Horse and which has now moved into the same building as Maverick. Speaking to Print21 last month Hopmans said, "Maverick is my business. I don't know anything about Dark Horse. We are not affiliated with them."

Hopmans was the person who originally registered Dark Horse Print & Design, and worked for the company until at least April this year; she registered Dark Horse Print & Design as a trading name in August 2005 and had it as a sole trader until 2010. She continued working with the company until at least April this year.

The liquidation of Dark Horse, and establishment of Maverick, is causing uproar in the Melbourne print community, with printers facing a new competitor that is unencumbered by debts, which at Dark Horse ran to more than $2m.

Maverick has begun operations in the old Longbeach Press building at 1 Rutherford Road, Seaford. Australian Trade Printers has also moved into that building, vacating the premises it shared with Dark Horse on the Nepean Highway in Mornington.

The new Maverick has a sophisticated website, with online chat, offering a range of products able to be ordered online, and which bear a similarity to the products offered by Dark Horse.

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