Construction giant St Hilliers falls into voluntary administration after losing $12 million in two years

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Construction giant St Hilliers has called in administrators, halting work on more than 20 projects across Australia.

The group appointed Glenn Livingstone and Alan Walker of WLP Restructuring to take charge of its construction division yesterday after racking up $12 million in losses over the past two years.

In a statement, the administrators said they “have secured and paused all works across St Hilliers’ 21 active construction sites while they undertake an urgent assessment of the business’s financial position and operations”.

They added that during the assessment period, approximately 80 staff members will be retained while 22 have been made redundant.

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According to financial documents filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) the group reported revenue of $164 million in 2023, but made a loss of $8.9 million in the last financial year and a loss of $3.1 million the previous year.

Among the projects affected by the Sydney group’s administration are the Bernborough retirement village in the Brisbane suburb of Ascot and the Thornton Central development in Penrith, in Sydney’s outer west.

St Hilliers also has several contracts with the Department of Defence and according to its website it is “one of Australia’s leading private, integrated property and construction groups”.

Mr Livingstone and Mr Walker said their appointment “relates only to some entities within St Hilliers construction division, known as St Hilliers Contracting, while its property development and investment division, St Hilliers Property, remains unaffected”.

The seven businesses in administration are ST Holdings Pty Limited, St Hilliers Pty Limited, St Hilliers Contracting Pty Limited, STH Bonding Pty Limited, SHC Civil Pty Limited, St Hilliers Inventive Pty Limited, and SH Newstead Pty Limited.

Mr Livingstone said: “The Administrators are working closely with all stakeholders and staff in order to recommence project works at the earliest opportunity.

“We are hopeful this can occur in the coming days and that the employment of as many people as possible is preserved.”

The first meeting of creditors will be held on or before 14 February 2024.

Subcontractors working on the Bernborough project were advised of the development Sunday night, receiving a message which read:

“Please be advised that there will be no work on the Bernborough Ascot St Hilliers construction site tomorrow.

“St Hilliers has today gone into voluntary administration; what I can advise you is we will allow persons to collect their tools under escort by St Hilliers, and materials fixed/unfixed cannot leave site.

“The St Hilliers site gate will remained locked. Tomorrow the subcontractor business owner will be contacted for steps moving forward by the appointed administrator.”

Subcontractors were advised to notify their staff not to arrive at the Brisbane site on Monday.

“If you wish to redeploy your staff to alternative job sites that is certainly fine and the point of this message to you so you have that opportunity.”

They were also told that senior St Hilliers site staff would be at the Brisbane site at 6.15am Monday morning “to discuss in person with the subcontractor project manager/supervisor/owner only”.

Know more? | michelle.bowes@news.com.au