RCR Tomlinson appoints administrators after failure to secure more funding

AGL Broken Hill Solar Plant. Source: ARENA. License: All Rights Reserved.

November 23 (Renewables Now) - Australian engineering and infrastructure major RCR Tomlinson Ltd (ASX:RCR) said Thursday it has appointed voluntary administrators with the objective to quickly stabilise operations and initiate a sale process for the company.

Jason Preston, Jamie Harris, Matthew Caddy and Rob Brauer of specialist аdvisory and restructuring firm McGrathNicol Restructuring are tasked with conducting an assessment of the business and are urgently seeking short-term funding from existing financiers of the RCR Group. A first statutory meeting of creditors is expected to take place on December 3.

The company stressed in a separate statement today that the process concerns only RCR Tomlinson and its Australian subsidiaries, while all international entities remain under the control of their boards and local management. The Perth-based group entered a trading halt earlier this month.

RCR Tomlinson is an engineering firm that serves the infrastructure, energy and resources sectors. It offers development and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services as well as operation and maintenance (O&M) services for various types of projects, including solar, wind, hydro and battery storage plants. Examples for large solar parks built or currently being constructed by the company include a 124-MW facility for Sun Metals Corp, the 100-MW first stage of the Haughton Solar Farm for Pacific Hydro, and the Daydream and Hayman plants totalling 200 MW.

The move to appoint administrators comes after in late August, RCR announced an entitlement offer to raise AUD 100 million (USD 72.4m/EUR 63.6m) to beef up its balance sheet and tackle cost overruns on its contract for the Daydream and Hayman projects. The company said at the time it had booked write-downs of AUD 57 million on that particular development.

The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) state secretary Peter Ong commented on RCR’s downfall, saying that the union and others have been raising issues around the company’s solar farm business model for months. Ong further said that the state government had not adequately overseen this important industry.

“This company’s business model of significantly undercutting competitors during the tender process delivered nothing but a race to the bottom on wages, safety and conditions and highlights the perils of privatisation. We know that many workers on RCR sites in other states have not been paid their entitlements and we have reports that direct RCR employees in Queensland had not been paid as at last night either,” he added.

(AUD 1.0 = USD 0.724/EUR 0.636)

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