SKOPE: New name registered 4 days before admin
Controversial signage business Skope Group director Ann Orren registered a new trading name, Skope Group Wholesale Manufacturing, just four days before placing Skope Group into voluntary administration at the end of last month.
Skope Group has been making monthly payments of $22,000 under a DOCA arranged for Clear Skies, which was effectively the manufacturing arm for Skope, and which racked up $2.3m worth of debts in the past three years, only to have $1.5m of them wiped off under the DOCA, to the fury of the rest of the sign industry.
Skope made four of the monthly payments, but missed the February payment. Administrator Peter Thorn from PKF sent creditors a letter saying that “I am concerned that there is likely to be a material contravention of the deed.” Creditors had to accept a 30-cent-on-the-dollar deal, and are still owed $700,000.
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. Its $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.
Clear Skies director Robert Price was said by the administrator to be a dummy director, with Ann Orren as de-facto director – she signed the leases, dealt with the accountants and signed the cheques. Her partner Charles Orren is not listed as a director as any of the Skope businesses, although he signs himself as such.
Skope Group and its various trading entities – 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. were placed into admin.
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.