Ipex business winds down

Ipex business winds down

Commander receivers are unable to sell the integrator's PC manufacturing arm as an ongoing concern

Commander subsidiary, Ipex, is being wound down

Commander subsidiary, Ipex, is being wound down

Former Australian PC assembly stalwart and Commander subsidiary, Ipex, is being wound down after receivers failed to sell the business as an ongoing concern.

According to a creditors’ report from administrators, Ferrier Hodgson, dated November 11, the failure of the receivers, McGrathNicol, to sell Ipex as part of Commander’s managed services business left it with no other option but to close the division. ASX-listed integrator, CSG (ASX:CSV), purchased Commander’s managed services business last month for an undisclosed sum.

“It became evident through the sale process that a going concern sale for this [Ipex] part of the MaPS [managed services] business would not be possible. This business is now being wound down through to 30 November,” the Ferrier Hodgson report stated.

ARN understands there are about 50 people left at Ipex who are set to lose their jobs. A source close to the company also claimed no customer orders had been accepted for the past couple of weeks. Requests for comment from McGrathNicol had not been answered at time of press.

The document reported Ipex’s top-line revenues were just over $86.7 million in the 2008 financial year, with pre-tax earnings of just over $21 million. This was down from revenue of $97.2 million and pre-tax earnings of $21.9 million in 2007.

Administrators, Max Donnelly and Steven Sherman from Ferrier Hodgson, were appointed to Commander on August 7 after the company repeatedly failed to bring down its debt repayments. On the same day, Commander’s secured creditor, Westpac, appointed Peter Anderson, Chris Honey and Joseph Hayes from McGrathNicol as receivers.

Ferrier Hodgson is holding a second Commander creditors’ meeting on November 24 to decide whether to place Commander and its other subsidiary companies into liquidation or to secure a deed of company arrangement.

Ipex was established in 1984 as a PC manufacturer by the Schwalb family in Victoria and was acquired by Volante for $70 million in February 2004. Volante was then acquired by Commander through a hostile takeover in April 2006. It is understood that since then, the Ipex business has been steadily downsized.

The Ipex business, which represented 1.8 per cent of Australia’s PC marketshare in its heyday in 2004, was known for its lucrative Group 8 contracts with various Federal Government agencies.

In the meantime, McGrathNicol announced the sale of Commander’s telecom assets to newly established private equity consortium, Commander Telecom Group, last week.

A spokesperson for the receivers said it was now working on the sale of Commander’s non-core assets including its wireless broadband arm, PBA, Red Media and Unitel.

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