Administrators look to save Force Access

29 July 2015

The administrators of Australian rental company Force Access, which has entered voluntary administration, are likely to ask for more time to sell the business.

David Lombe and Vaughan Strawbridge of Deloitte were appointed as voluntary administrators in mid-July. Christopher Hill and Brett Lord of PPB Advisory were also appointed as receivers and managers to run the company day-to-day.

Force Access is one of the largest access rental companies in Australia and Asia Pacific, with an estimated fleet of 3800 to 4000 aerial platforms, representing as much as 10% of the Australian market.

At a creditors’ meeting on 24 July, Deloitte said that indicative bids were required by 4 August. To tie in with the proposed completion date of 21 August, final bids would need to be submitted a week later.

A second creditors’ meeting will take place on or before 17 August, but Deloitte said: “It is incompatible for the receivers and managers to run a full and thorough sales campaign prior to this date.

“As such, the administrators are proposing to make an application to the Court to extend the convening period.

In a letter to Force’s creditors, PPB said: “As receivers and managers, we are responsible for the day to day operations of the business while it continues to trade.

“We are urgently undertaking a review of the business with a view to selling the business and its assets.”

Force, which supplies equipment including scissor lifts, boom lifts, telehandlers and aerial work platforms, had 13 branches employing more than 300 people at the time of going into administration. It has a customer base of around 5000 and serves industries including mining, construction, oil and gas and lighting.

The company was formed as Skyreach Equipment in Brisbane in 1994 and was Hire and Rental Industry Association Rental Company of the Year for the second time as recently as 2013. It also won the award in 2007 - the same year the Force Access brand was created - and is the only company to have been honoured by the association twice.

Between those times it established operations in all the major cities and acquired 10 rental companies across Australia, particularly in New South Wales.

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