Australian appliance company Kleenmaid, which last week placed itself into voluntary administration with debts of over A$67 million may come under investigation from the Australian Companies and Securities Commission. The government suspects the company may have been trading while insolvent for weeks prior to being placed into administration.
From Victoria to Queensland government authorities have started taking complaints from around 6,000 customers who paid up to A$27 million in deposits for Kleenmaid appliances that the company has failed to deliver. Other complaints cover warranties and the sale of extended warranty packages. Government official expect complaints to mount after Easter is over.
According to consumer affairs minister Tony Robinson, the company's collapse which came very quickly had left hundreds of Victorians in the lurch.
He added the consumers are not sure what had happened to the white goods they ordered, the deposits they had paid and the warranties they had received.
According to market sources the company had been struggling for some time with trade creditors having had to extend trading terms. Trade creditors fear there is not guarantee that they will get their get back the company owes them.
Meanwhile John Grieg from accountancy firm Deloitte who was appointed voluntary administrator to Kleenmaid said they would investigate if the company was trading insolvent. He added that the company is left with no funds.
The company with its headquarters at Maroochydore in Queensland had a turnover of $90 million in the year to June 2008. The company specialised in ovens, dishwashers, cooktops and washing machines. It has 20 retail outlets in Australia.
At least 150 jobs mainly in Victoria will go with the collapse of Kleenmaid and according to industry sources franchisees in Victoria will have a very uncertain future.
According to Robinson they would have to wait to know more about the actual impact in Victoria in so far as the company structure was concerned and the impact on employment. However, he said there would be considerable anxiety among families who had been dealing with Kleenmaid.
The company owes A$12 million to creditors.