Calmer seas at Riviera

Written on the 6 August 2009

Calmer seas at Riviera

STAFF at embattled boat builder Riviera have had superannuation contributions for April and May - unpaid at the time of receivership – paid by the company today.

It is seen as a vote of confidence by staff as the receiver Deloittes (appointed on May 8) continue to restructure the company in the wake of a $350 million debt.

“We started with zero dollars in the account and had insufficient monies to pay entitlements,” says Deloittes partner Vaughan Strawbridge.

Riviera chief executive John Anderson is also confident that a re-adjusted three-year wage negotiation is a step in the right direction for the company’s remaining 300 staff.

A submission has also been sent by the company to the Development of Education Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) requesting the Minister to exercise discretion so that employees who have been made redundant are eligible to access the General Employee Entitlements & Redundancy Scheme (GEERS).

Deloittes is still conducting a review of the company’s assets. Since the appointment of the receivers, 156 workers have been sacked at the Coomera facility.

Strawbridge has indicated the receiver/managers will wait until the market recovers to offload the asset but will not disclose what he estimates the company to be worth.

“Administration does not impact what we’re doing here,” says Strawbridge.

“We don’t need to sell the existing company as it is. We are still assessing the timing. If we wanted to get out quickly, we would have sold already. Instead we are restructuring with staff and looking ahead.

“We have received a lot of interest in the business, both local and internationally. If we are not confident of selling it at market value, we will be here for the next 12-18 months. It will depend on the business phase.”

CEO John Anderson was thrown a hospital pass when he took over the stewardship of Riviera following the resignation of then CEO Wes Moxey in 2008.

“It’s not exactly what I had on my wish list, but I remain as optimistic as I was last April,” says Anderson, the former president of US luxury boat builder Four Winns.

“This is a very challenging and difficult market, but we are still building boats and we have a lot of work to do.”

Riviera is banking on a financial buoy at the Sydney International Boat Show, where the company will unveil 15 boats, including the 5000 Sport Yacht (pictured).

A creditors meeting has been pushed back to January 2010.


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