Mainzeal employees reacted with shock and anger to the news
that around 200 staff had been made redundant in an effort to
reduce the failed construction firm's operating costs, says
the company's receiver.
PwC partner Colin McCloy said receivers were in talks with "a
handful"of parties interested in buying the company and its
assets, either as a whole or by segment, he said. "The sheer
cost of employing a large number of people in roles that
weren't really required in receivership meant we had to
release those staff."
The cuts would probably make the company more attractive to
potential buyers, he added. Mainzeal Property and
Construction had about 440 staff in New Zealand.
Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly said the 200
job losses, combined with the hundreds of contractors out of
pocket after the company's collapse, meant there would be a
huge fallout from the Mainzeal receivership.
"We would like to see a better commitment to all of the
workers involved. It's a disaster," she said.
Ms Kelly said jobs would be available in Christchurch for
workers in the construction sector, but the picture would be
less rosy for administration staff.
Mr McCloy would not reveal the names of the interested
parties PwC was in talks with but said Mainzeal had "good
projects and good people"that would make it attractive to
potential buyers. The local arm of US firm Ceres
Environmental Services has expressed an interest in Mainzeal
and there has been speculation that construction firms
Fletcher Building and Downer EDI could also be interested in
buying the business.
PwC said that since Friday the receivers had been working
with contractors and subcontractors to give them access to
sites to ensure they were safe and property could be
retrieved in a "controlled manner".
"We're continuing to evaluate individual projects in an
effort to restart or transfer work on some sites as soon as
possible, subject to contractual arrangements and our
statutory obligations as receivers," said Mr McCloy.
Meanwhile, Construction Minister Maurice Williamson will be
questioned on his connection to Mainzeal when Parliament
resumes today following Labour claims of a conflict of
Mr Williamson is a director of air conditioning company
Holyoake Industries, which has worked with Mainzeal on