• Happier times: Andrew Cester
    Happier times: Andrew Cester

Creditors of collapsed trade, commercial and digital print business Whirlwind are unlikely to see more than a smidgen of a return for their outstanding invoices, as the liquidator confirms that the company had virtually no assets left when it went under with debts in the millions of dollars.

Speaking to Print21 this morning liquidator Andrew Hewitt from Grant Thornton said, “We are in the early stages, it will be about three months before we have a clear understanding. It would be fair to say the debts will be in the millions though.”

No creditors list has been issued, although Print21 can reveal that two of the big paper merchants are both owed more than $1m each. No outstanding employee entitlements were paid before the firm collapsed, meaning creditors will have to get in line behind them if there is any money.

The liquidator also confirms that the deal for the assets which went to CMYKhub appears above board, with the money used to pay secured creditors of Whirlwind. Hewitt said, “The assets were valued independently and the secured creditors, the banks, agreed to the valuation and the sale. On that basis it will likely all be ok.”

The only money left to come back to the liquidator will be from factored invoices which Whirlwind was using for cash flow, however with only 20 per cent left to come, and the liquidator set to take its fee, creditors can expect the best part of zip from those.

Under new legislation there is no need for an initial creditors meeting unless the creditors themselves demand it. Hewitt said, "I have just sent out notices to the creditors asking them to confirm the amounts owed to them. I am also looking into inter-company loans and other finances within the company."

Whirlwind's troubles began when it bought Sydney-based printer Lyndsay Yates in October 2017, intending to turn into the city's premium printer. However senior sales staff moved on, and the company's dream turned sour. Recriminations on a he said she said basis are now flying around.

CMYKhub meanwhile has now got the Knoxfield site fully up and running as a CMYKhub centre, with 50 former Whirlwind staff working in the plant. CMYKhub says it is fulfilling all trade orders taken by Whirlwind, even though it will be the liquidator that is paid for them. CMYKhub is not fulfilling Whirlwind's commercial orders, sticking to its trade-only position.

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