Systems integrator and services outfit Approved Business Group has called in the administrators, ending more than 15 years of servicing the government sector.
The collapse of the company has left sales staff in the lurch, with most unlikely to see any return on outstanding commissions. The company that traded as Approved Systems has a skeleton staff remaining at its offices in the Canberra suburb of Phillip, but most of the 25-strong team have been told they are no longer needed.
Voluntary administrator Michael Slaven from Rangott & Slaven was appointed last week to sift through the remains of the company. He will report back to creditors on September 12 before a meeting on September 20 when creditors will decide if they should liquidate the company. At this stage, the company is estimated to owe creditors around $1.44 million. Employees will receive their basic entitlements, although it is not yet clear whether commissions will be paid.
"It may be the case that they are not of the same nature [as employee entitlements] and could well be treated as unsecured debt," Slaven said.
It was too early to say what sort of return creditors could expect, but he holds little hope of recovering unsecured funds. "At this stage I don't think there will be anything for unsecured creditors unless inquiries reveal additional transactions that we can recover."
Slaven said it was unclear what led to the demise of the company, but directors Jim Willis and Ivan Jackson blame "the changing nature of the industry".
Approved Systems has been around since 1986 and its business mostly consisted of supplying IT products and services to the government sector. In recent times, however, the reseller has been muscled out of contracts by larger manufacturers and integrators.
It is thought high rents for the company's two stores in Woden Plaza and Belconnen Mall also took their toll.
Resellers are concerned the collapse could create uncertainty as to the reliability of the local industry. "Any time this happens we are concerned because its sends a negative message about the health of Apple resellers," said Ken Hogg, general manager of Mac 1 in Fyshwick.
Other resellers hope less players will create more room in the market. "In the last six months business has slowed right back," said one reseller. "With all the failures, the shining hope is that less competition will shrink the reseller reach."
Approved Systems was an authorised warranty service provider for Apple and IBM, and also partnered with Microsoft, Adobe and Compaq.