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GBC directors picking up the pieces

DIRECTORS of the failed Geraldton Building Co, Laurence Gallop and Geoff Crothers, have emerged with links to the new owners of sizeable portions of the failed business.

GBC was put into liquidation several weeks ago, leaving debts of more than $3 million. The biggest creditor was the Australian Tax Office, which was owed just less than $1 million.

Creditors have been told they will receive 20 cents in the dollar.

Administrator Ferrier Hodgson, appointed in November 2000, attempted to sell GBC in an effort to recover creditors’ funds.

It created a Deed of Company Arrangement to this effect in April.

As part of the deed, Mr Crothers was attempting to raise funds to buy GBC and the brickworks but fell short of his goal.

Creditors were told in August that, due to the failure of sale of the business, GBC would have to be liquidated.

Mr Gallop, older brother of Premier Geoff Gallop, bought part of the company and formed Geraldton Independent Building Supplies in June. The business is believed to supply gyprock and fencing materials to the building industry.

Fellow GIBS directors Wayne Donald and Norman Anderson were former GBC employees.

It is understood the brickworks were bought by Starfield Nominees, a company associated with Mr Crothers, for an estimated $640,000. Mr Crothers confirmed his associates had bought the brickworks, but would not disclose the price.

The brickworks recently had a new kiln fitted but it is understood its buildings are in poor repair.

Both Mr Crothers and his wife, Lorraine, are directors of GJC Pty Ltd, which had a majority shareholding in GBC’s parent company, GBC Holdings Pty Ltd.

GBC’s asset services, cabinet making and minor works sections were bought by ex GBC employees. That business is now operating as Geraldton Building Services and Cabinets.

Both Mr Gallop and Mr Crothers could still be pursued by Ferrier Hodgson for funds if it can be proved GBC had been trading while insolvent. Mr Crothers said he believed there was only an outside chance that he and Mr Gallop would be pursued.

“A claim has been made and it is with our insurers,” he said.

Creditors Business News has spoken to have indicated their dissatisfaction with the collapse of GBC, particularly the fact that both directors are still in business while they are waiting for their money.

Business News was unable to contact Mr Gallop for comment.

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