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Ebert Construction in receivership, workers locked out

Ebert Construction firm goes into receivership, workers locked out from sites

Leading construction company Ebert Construction has gone into receivership.

Workers and
contractors were locked out of the Ebert Construction's
Union Green apartment site in Auckland. Photo: RNZ

Workers and contractors were locked out of the Ebert Construction's Union Green apartment site in Auckland. Photo: RNZ

The company specialises in commercial and industrial work and has done a lot of construction in the dairy and food processor sectors.

Workers and contractors arrived at sites around the country this morning to find themselves locked out.

Contractors at the firm's Union Green apartment project in Auckland were given a letter from the receivers when they arrived at work.

In the letter, the receivers said the workers would have to go through the receivership process to get their assets back.

Worker Lotu Samuelu, said the news came out of the blue.

He said the closure meant workers had no access to their own tools.

"On our way to work this morning our boss told us the site has been shut down," he said.

"We were a bit frustrated because we still had all our tools on site so we are just trying to get them back.

"Those tools help us feed our families and the banks don't care about that so we're just doing our best to get as much off site as we can."

Mr Samuelu said there was a site meeting this morning and they hoped more information would be available.

Receiver John Fisk of PricewaterhouseCoopers said the only firm affected was Ebert Construction Ltd.

"None of the other companies in the group are in receivership," he told Morning Report.

Ebert's sites also include Middlemore Hospital in Auckland, the Indian High Commission in Wellington and a number of projects in the South Island, he said.

Mr Fisk said the board of directors got new information about a week ago about how poorly some contracts in the Auckland region were performing and concluded they could no longer continue to trade.

"We understand that new information came to hand less than a week ago that the suggested the company was going to incur significant losses" - John Fisk duration 4:31
from Morning Report

Click a link to play audio (or right-click to download) in either
MP3 format or in OGG format.

He was appointed receiver at 7pm yesterday.

Mr Fisk would not disclose the information directors gave him but said it showed the company was going to incur significant losses.

Ebert has done work in the past for district health boards, the dairy industry and the New Zealand Defence Force.

Just four weeks ago, it announced it had a contract to design and build a new milk powder plant in Pokeno for Synlait.

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