Engineering services company Hastie Group has announced the appointment of Voluntary Administrators after it was revealed last week that the company had found accounting irregularities to the value of an estimated $20 million. The impending collapse of the company casts doubt over the 2,000 people employed in Victoria and New South Wales.


A syndicate of banks led by the ANZ and including the Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, Westpac, Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank, HSBC Australia and HSBC Middle East, is owed $500 million, thought to be split equally between debt and equity.


The company announced irregularities in its Services Group – Northern Region Business, and is expected to shave $20 million off the company’s final profits. After preliminary investigations, the company found the irregularities date from the 2009 financial year and are the result of deliberate actions of a current employee.


The irregularities have compounded existing issues with debt with the company’s banks, raising concerns that the company’s $540 million debt could be forced to be written down in the event of the company’s collapse.


The company has referred the matter to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).


The Directors of Hastie Group have appointed Ian Carson, David McEvoy and Craig Crosbie of PB Advisory as administrators of the company and its 44 subsidiaries.


Hastie has operations in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland, and the Middle East, employing around 7000 people in total.