23/03/2021 - 12:21

Former McGrath chief to lead The Agency

23/03/2021 - 12:21

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Real estate firm The Agency Group appears to be attempting to drive growth amid a federal court case and speculation surrounding its solvency, appointing Geoffery Lucas as CEO.

Former McGrath chief to lead The Agency
The Agency managing director Paul Niardone (left) and chief executive Matt Lahood will soon be joined by former McGrath Limited executive Geoffery Lucas.

Real estate firm The Agency Group appears to be attempting to drive growth amid a Federal Court case and speculation surrounding its solvency, appointing former McGrath Limited executive Geoffery Lucas as its chief executive officer.

The seasoned property leader has held several executive positions in the real estate industry, most recently serving as chief executive officer of rival real estate agency McGrath until his resignation in August last year.

Mr Lucas, who was credited with turning around McGrath’s financial position amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said he was excited to be joining The Agency Group Australia on March 29 and a team that had demonstrated “tremendous resilience” during its formative stages.

He said the company’s recent expansion into Queensland meant it was in a position of financial strength and dominating market share in a number of key markets.

Mr Lucas is expected to work alongside managing director Paul Niardone.

The Agency chairperson Andrew Jensen said the company was pleased Mr Lucas would be joining the team at a time when the company was hoping to use the foundation of its strong balance sheet and operational experience to drive growth.

It has been a trying year for the embattled real estate company, which only had its trading halt lifted five weeks ago after Magnolia Group appointed accounting firm BDO as voluntary administrators over a $385,000 debt.

Magnolia Group, which holds a 16.65 per cent stake in the company, appointed administrators on January 19 after revealing it had lost confidence in the company.

But The Agency Group took its fight to stop the administration to the Federal Court, filing an interlocutory injunction to prevent administrators from taking action while the two parties resolved a debt dispute, insisting that it was solvent.

Justice Craig Colvin granted an injunction and moved to adjourn the matter to a case management hearing, with the administrators agreeing to stand aside to allow the contractual dispute to be dealt with.

The company has spent the weeks preceding the court case attempting to nullify speculation regarding its solvency, presenting an update on its financial position last month, which indicated that it had a positive operating cash flow of $1.5 million and a combined group revenue of $29 million.

The figure represented a 15 per cent increase on the same time last year.

A three-day hearing for the new cross claim filed by Magnolia Group is now scheduled to begin on April 14.

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