$500K in debt: Concrete group collapses
Further cracks have appeared in a Brisbane business group focused on all things related to concrete furniture and fittings.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Pop Concrete Supplies & Training Pty Ltd, based at a joint factory and warehouse in the West End, collapsed this week.
It claimed to be an exclusive supplier of special concrete benchtops and a maker of "premium glass fibre reinforced concrete products''.
"We love concrete. There we said it - and we're not ashamed of it. We make beautiful things, functional things,'' the still-intact website says.
But love, it turns out, is not all you need.
Sole director Chris Born tapped SV Partners operative David Stimpson to wind up the company, which was majority owned by the Jarvela family. Early estimates suggest it went down owing nearly $500,000.
Brothers Jouni and Sami Jarvela launched the Pop group of companies five years ago, making custom products for both residential and commercial projects, including restaurants and resorts.
But mounting financial difficulties forced Sami to pull the plug on Pop Concrete Pty Ltd and Pop Concrete Services Pty Ltd back in September.
He appointed Michael Dullaway of insolvency outfit Pearce & Heers to serve as liquidator of the two entities, which had previously operated out of a showroom in Fortitude Valley.
Meanwhile, Jouni continues to run the sole intact company left in the group, Pop Plus, which flogs furniture and lighting from a studio in Salisbury.
By pure coincidence, Dullaway's reports on the first two Pop companies lobbed last week, just days before the third went bust.
City Beat managed to get copies and they don't make for pretty reading.
Together, the two entities, which traded from an outpost in Rocklea, fell over with collective debts of nearly $820,000.
About three quarters of that amount is owed to almost 30 unsecured trade creditors.
Cash at the bank? Just under $3.
Worse still, Dullaway alleges that the rot set in well before the onset of pandemic lockdowns in March.
He writes that it's his "preliminary opinion" that the two companies potentially traded while insolvent since at least June last year.
By that time, he says, the firms were already piling up losses, failing to pay GST and employee super and suffering from "a deficiency of current assets''.
"I consider there is an insolvent trading claim which is able to be pursued against the company director which would likely be in excess of $200,000,'' Dullaway notes.
However, it's understood that creditors have not pursued that option because there are simply not enough assets to make a claim cost-effective.
Sami denied that the companies were managed improperly and no legal action about this matter is currently before the courts. "To the best of my knowledge, no, we weren't trading insolvent,'' he told your diarist on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Born declined to return a call seeking comment about the demise of Pop Concrete Supplies & Training Pty Ltd.
Records show he became a director of the company in late 2018 and Sami remained as secretary.
City Beat spies told us Born acquired an equity stake through a family trust and, sure enough, records reveal one of his related entities owns nearly 50 per cent of the now-defunct business.
"He effectively didn't realise the difficulties facing the rest of the group,'' one source said.
Originally published as $500K in debt: Brisbane concrete group collapses