Crisis talks underway as building giant on brink of collapse

Duncan MurrayNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

Building giant Metricon is in urgent crisis talks with clients after falling into financial strife.

Sales staff within the company were being instructed to increase cash flow by securing more deposits, the Herald Sun reported on Wednesday.

Metricon bosses are expected to meet with major clients including the Victorian Government on Thursday.

The development comes just days after the sudden loss of company co-founder Mario Biasin, who died unexpectedly at the age of 71.

The company confirmed Mr Biasin had been experiencing mental health issues.

Metricon employs approximately 2500 staff, primarily in eastern Australia, where it has a pipeline of roughly 4000 homes under construction.

Minta Estate Berwick construction
Camera IconThe company is reportedly renegotiating contracts amid serious and industry-wide price pressures. David Caird Credit: News Corp Australia

Construction businesses across Australia are facing difficult circumstances in the face of rising materials costs and labour shortages.

Earlier this year, giant firms Probuild and Condev went into liquidation, impacting thousands of staff and subcontractors.

Government efforts to support construction during the pandemic have boosted production rates beyond what key supply chains can support.

Metricon has been trying to alter, offload or delay contracts to help deal with the constraints.

One salesperson told the Herald Sun they were owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in commission and were being pushed to secure more cashflow to help keep the business afloat.

“We have been pressured now to push for as many deposits as possible,” they said.

“They are five per cent, so on an $800,000 build that’s a $40,000 payment – then buyers would be charged as the build progressed, for the slab, then frame, et cetera.”

Metricon Homes
Camera IconFollowing the sudden death of its co-founder, Metricon said it was looking to maintain normal business operations. Ian Currie Credit: News Corp Australia

Following Mr Biasin’s death, Metricon acting chief executive Peter Langfelder said the goal was for the company to continue operating as usual.

“We are focused on the business running as smoothly as possible, servicing all our customers and continuing to get homes to site and completed on time,” he said.

“We have delivered a message to our team that the goal is business as usual, as Mario would have wanted.”

Metricon has been contacted for further comment.

Mental health support

Originally published as Crisis talks underway as building giant on brink of collapse

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